Dan’s Wednesday Quote of the Week #71 – Chicken Joe

My father always said, “Don’t walk away from negative people, run.” Always look for the silver lining, be nice, slow down, love people, and pay it forward.

Chicken Joe Taylor, 72 year old lives in Wells, Maine. A fellow Wildcat from the University of New Hampshire (Dan in 1999), Chicken Joe is now a cardio-aerobics instructor at No Limits Fitness in Wells. As you might imagine, his chickens are loved, cared for, and adored.

Dan’s Wednesday Quote of the Week -#69

Surely something wonderful is sheltered inside you. I say this with all confidence, because I happen to believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure. I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.

Elizabeth Gilbert, b. 1969

Elizabeth Gilbert is an American journalist and author. She is best known for her 2006 memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, which has sold over 12 million copies and has been translated into over 30 languages. The book was also made into a film of the same name starring Julia Roberts in 2010.

Dan’s Wednesday Quote of the Week #13 – Prejudice

Prejudice is an emotional commitment to ignorance.

Nathan Rutstein, co-founded Institutes for the Healing of Racism

This quote leads off chapter two in Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man (2020) by Emmanuel Acho, a powerful new book that I am reading. I first saw Emmanuel Acho on ESPN where he was a contributor to sports conversations. Recently he was interviewed by Brene Brown on her Unlocking Us podcast. Click here for that thoughtful interview.

Dan and Hannah Give Blood and Have a Covid Test – the Results

The results from the American Red Cross after Hannah and I gave blood in Kittery, Maine ten days ago (July 24, 2020).

COVID-19 Antibody Test Result*: Negative


A negative test result means that you probably have not been exposed to COVID-19 and therefore have not developed antibodies to the virus. It also could indicate that antibodies are present but at levels below the test’s threshold for detection, or that the test did not recognize those antibodies. It is possible that you can still contract the virus, if exposed. It takes one to three weeks after an infection for antibodies to be present.

We both are not surprised.  We take seriously the big three: social distancing, wearing masks around others, and avoid going inside unless we absolutely must (i.e. grocery shopping and very little else).

Thanks to our Governor Janet Mills and the many responsible citizens of Maine, we as a state are doing well to date.  When you consider all the out-of-state visitors to our beaches in southern Maine, it’s surprising how well the Pine Tree State is doing.

Covid map to ogunquit

Last weekend at noon, Hannah and I biked to the main beach in Ogunquit from our home in York.  We rode up and down the massive parking lot and saw two Maine license plates out of seventy.  Clearly, Mainers are staying away from the beaches at crunch time.

Covid pickleball

Hannah and I are able to stay active and are not cloistered.  We do play outdoor pickleball in selected groups of four or five and go masked to our gym surrounded by heavy plastic on three sides (though currently we are on haitus).  We don’t do restaurants, but get chicken burritos take-out at Loco Coco’s in Kittery.  We have a friend or two for social distancing drinks and apps on our front deck.  I play ping pong in a trusted friend’s basement once a week.  We see our grandsons for 24 hours at our home.

All we do is simple enough because of the warm weather.  November is still three months away.  Then we’ll go into Phase Two (for us), whatever that might be.

It’s not rocket science to give ourselves the best shot at being Covid-free.  We are just trying to live the two R’s: being reasonable and responsible.

Dan and Hannah and Their CSA

Our first bounty from the Orange Circle Farm has arrived!

CSA2 jeff and hannah

Masked Hannah with Farmer Jeff to the right at the Kittery, Maine pick-up location

CSA – Community Supported Agriculture

Hannah and I signed up for a weekly delivery of local vegetables after all hell broke loose in early March 2020 due to the coronavirus global pandemic.  Not knowing the ride the pandemic was to take us on, Hannah and I stepped up to support two local farmers by buying a full share for the 2020 growing season.

As a quasi-vegetarian anyway, I need more iron in my diet.  When I donate blood to the American Red Cross, routinely my hemoglobin number struggles to reach the required 13.0 g/dL*.  *(g/dL is grams per deciliter!! – as we all know a gram is 1/30 of an ounce).

With some leafy kale, my hemoglobin is rocket man!

Our first bin of veggies arrived the first week of June, 2020.  Check out our bounty.

CSA2 list of veggies

CSA2 mesclun

Mesclun (often for salad greens)

CSA2 bok choi

Bok Choy supports cancer prevention, promotes healthy digestion, and has insane levels of vitamin A and C

CSA2 spinach 2

Spinach supports healthy skin, hair, and strong bones

CSA2 kale

Kale, kale, kale, the gang’s all here.  My iron source of choice.

CSA2 scallions

Scallions (the same as green onions)

CSA2 dill

Dill (good for digestion problems including loss of appetite, intestinal gas (farting for the crude among you), and liver problems

CSA2 radishes

Radishes (another fine source of Vitamin C)

CSA2 lettuce

Lettuce alone (say those two words out loud and you’ll see how funny I can be)

Tempting?  Perhaps, a CSA bin of veggies is in your future?


Dan and His 2020 Stimulus Check – The Stories

Two weeks ago, I posted a blog asking for your help in finding a worthy home for my 2020 stimulus check.  Click here for that blog.  It turned out my goal to give away $500 wasn’t enough to meet all the needs.  We gave away nearly $700.

Here are their stories from the people that we have supported.

Stim2 superhero

We learned from Mary (married to my Arizona State roommate Rich) that friends of theirs had a niece born at under two pounds who lived just three months.  When these friends themselves became pregnant, they too had a preemie who was at great risk.  Their son survived; in gratitude, they support the Superhero Project, a non-profit that raises money to support NICU families and babies.  Click here to learn more about the Superhero Project.  Hannah and I are all in.

Stim2 brazil

Our friend Nancy from our Arizona days writes of her student from Brazil who wants to pursue a medical master’s degree.  The young man lives with his uncle’s family in the basement of another family’s house.  He is an only child and his mother (no father) is in Brazil.  He talks to her daily and worries about her health.  Hannah and I appreciate our chance to support this young man.

My colleague at Nevitt Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona, Diane, first suggests supporting a cat shelter in Scottsdale, then how great it would be to have breakfast with an elderly friend from Chicago.  This all leads to what’s in her heart.  She’d like to reconnect with a long lost friend over breakfast whose life has been filled with challenges.  Hannah and I support Diane’s efforts.

Stim2 rwanda map

Despite the Southwest connection of the first three entries, Hannah and I have made a few friends since our Arizona days.  One of them is Rose, who worked with Hannah at the Visiting Nurses Association of Portsmouth, NH.  Hannah was the Hospice volunteer coordinator and Rose a nurse.  Rose writes of a wonderful, hardworking couple from Rwanda. The wife was taking English classes before Covid-19 hit, and her hubby worked at Bowdoin College in food service.  They have a beautiful baby boy.

KGUA icon

Our California amiga, Tree, says she will donate to her beloved, local radio station and non-profit, KGUA. KGUA stayed on the air 24/7 during the wildfires, public safety power shutdowns, and most recently, the COVID-19 health crisis. This year, due to the virus outbreak, their annual fundraiser event was cancelled so donations at this time would greatly help them to continue the outstanding work.  We, too, will support KGUA.

Our local friend Mandy nominates her niece who raises three kids, two of whom have special needs.  In addition, her niece works three jobs (nurse in the schools, at the local hospital, and a summer camp for special needs children).  This summer camp is not opening due to Covid-19.  She never complains or asks for support because she is too busy serving and caring for others.  We’ll step up.

Stim2 AFSP

Our neighbor Laurie asks us to support the virtual walk she will do with her daughter to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  Due to Covid-19, they cannot walk sixteen miles overnight in Boston as they did last year.  Done.

Hannah’s friend from the College of Nursing at Arizona State, Patty, nominates a co-worker.  (By the way, Hannah was a student in the ASU nursing program for a semester plus, having aced the prerequisite Organic Chemistry to get in!)  Patty’s friend’s unemployment check hit a glitch, and glitches take a long time to fix due to the staggering #’s of people applying for unemployment.  Even though she and Patty were furloughed in March, her friend has yet to receive a check.  She has diabetes, with an expensive monitoring system.  Glad we can help.

Stim2 SAFER bags

Andy’s New York Food Bank in Action


Our son Will’s college roommate at St. Michael’s College near Burlington, Vermont, Andy, offers us the opportunity to give to their local food bank, Schuylerville (New York) Area Food and Emergency Relief.   The Food Bank collects large donations of food from the food industry and distributes it to charitable agencies serving 23 counties from Plattsburgh to Newburgh; they provide over 35 million pounds of food a year to 1,000 agencies.  We’ll do more than just give them food for thought.

From our daughter Molly’s Family: 

Stim2 Max

Max’s neighborhood ice cream smorgasbord

Max wants to have an ice cream smorgasbord with our neighbors – he is requesting $25 to buy ice cream from Sully’s and toppings.

Owen would like to buy groceries for the local food pantry and also donate some money – he is requesting $20 for us to buy some groceries and $20 for us to give to them directly.

Tip would like to support Black Lives Matter – Boston because we are committed to learning more, becoming anti-racist, and raising our children to understand white privilege. We are committed to learning, growing, speaking up, and acting for justice and equality.

Stim2 Owen

Owen figuring which items to buy with his $20 (among pasta, cereal, and cans of corn)

Molly would like to support Bail Bonds because “There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man or woman gets depends on the amount of money they have.” I’m requesting $50 for the local Massachusetts fund.  By the way, Molly’s family is going to match our gifts to the food pantry, Black Lives Matter, and Bail Bonds.

Stim2 Owen with bags

Thanks to these folks for coming through for Dan and Hannah.  Their stories make me realize that in addition to giving some money away, my companion goal was to strengthen our connections and further build relationships with others.  By others letting us know of the folks in need, Hannah and I become a little closer to the families in bold listed above who brought these stories to us.

Dan and Hannah’s Neighbors in These Crazy Times

Typically on Sundays, Hannah and I drive the three miles to our local Hannaford grocery store for the New York Times, fruit, cat food, and almond milk.  With the panic buying of the first two weeks of the coronavirus subsiding, the parking lot is only one-third full at 730A.  But things are different than in weeks past.

Only 75 people are being let in the store at any one time.  Once in the store, more than half the people are wearing masks.  Last Sunday I saw no masks.  Zero!

Mask Hannaford

Hannaford’s 730A Sunday, April 5, 2020 with the red lines separating customers checking out

Masks?  Did I miss the memo?  Where do I get masks?  I figure hospitals need masks and none are available.

So, I do what I am wont to do, I take a picture of the scene and text it to locals we know to update them about what is going on.  My text:  Hannaford’s at 730A this Sunday.  They are only letting in 75 in at a time.  Many more masks.  Where does one get masks?

Mask Dust mask

Dust Mask from Nolan

Almost immediately, our neighbor Steve texts back that the local hardware store sold them in normal times, but he doesn’t know if they have any.

Then our friend Mandy texts that she is making some out of napkins.

It turns out our son-in-law Tip is making some for our grandsons and Molly.

Mask Tip

Tip’s masks

Soon after, Nolan texts that he has a bunch and he’ll drop off a few for us.  Nolan is our son Will’s best friend from high school and watches over us like family.  He plows our driveway when we are in California.

Mask Cloth mask

Mary Lynne’s cloth creation

Not much later, in-town neighbor Mary Lynne says she has started making masks from scraps and will drop a couple off in our mailbox.

Our neighbor Laurie mentions that she is making “no sewing” masks using rubber bands from a video she saw on Facebook.  She sends us the link.

Mask No sew mask

Later we learn from Steve that he has an N95 mask for us.  These are the ones distributed to the residents in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties (California) during the wildfires of the last few years.

By noon, we have a mask bonanza.

I’ve learned that (1) we have neighbors who look out for us if we’ll let them know how we are doing, (2) many of us find meaning in giving and caring for others, (3) we have masks if you need them, and (4) we will come out the other side of this pandemic if we realize and act on the belief that we are all in this together.  Dan and Hannah send you love and light.

Dan Attempts a 30-Day Cleanse – Days 19-22 – Proper Mindset (8 of 12)

July 29Day 19 – Checking out links online regarding 30-day experiments, I see one titled, The Pitfalls of 30 Day Alcohol Free Challenges.   Hmmm.  Just might have a tip or two for me.

Cleanse - Mindset

And it does.  Look at the positive.  Enter this with what you’re going to gain, not what you’re going to give up.  Mindset is the probably single biggest predictor of your success.  I think the biggest mistake people make is that they go into this thinking about what they are giving up…

I’m so on board with this mindset thing.  Going into this experiment as a learner, I am curious what I might discover about myself and alcohol.  At no time has this lab experiment seemed like a sacrifice or a burden.  Stay tuned.

July 30 – Day 20 – The ritual of an evening glass of wine is deeply rooted in me. Later in life, my parents had a cocktail in the evening.  Their focus was more than just having a drink, it was a time to connect with each other.  As I look back on it, it was a time to pause, listen, reflect, and be heard.  Hannah and I carry on that tradition.

Cleanse two glasses of wine

No doubt, my early evening ritual of wine with Hannah nurtures our relationship and reminds us that we must pay attention to it so it continues to flourish.  But do we really need the grape to make it happen?

July 31 – Day 21 –   With ten days to go, I’m ready to put the 30-day experiment behind me.  No need to panic for those of you pulling for me to make all 30 days.  I am ready to wrap up, not to have a drink on Day 31, but to begin the next phase of my choices with alcohol.

Cleanse - Beaudoins and Sue


August 1 – Day 22 – Today was one of those moments with a beer that I won’t pass up once this experiment is finito.

On a warm, muggy morning here in York, Hannah and I play pickleball with skilled players, Fran, his brothers Ray and John, and Sue.  All soaked with sweat after two plus hours of good play, we return to our front porch for celebratory Pabst Blue Ribbons.  If you were here, you would have seen five beer drinkers and one sparkly water hold out in a blue shirt and orange baseball cap.  Really, it wasn’t hard, but sharing a brew with friends is an experience I’ll relish down the road.

With eight more days to go, I am not concerned with the light at the end of tunnel.  I believe that I’ll finish the 30 days without any drama.  Pretty cocky, you might think.  Time will tell if my confidence is misplaced or not.  Don’t touch that dial.

Dan with Hannah Tour Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California

RR map

Carpinteria is 20 miles north of Ventura

It feels a little odd for two Obama Democrats to go into the belly of the beast (Reagan Presidential Library), but it’s the first of four days of predicted rain in southern California.  And, let’s be honest, we’ve nothing better to do.

RR 1 H at entrance

Driving south from Carpinteria on the California coast, we take The 101, then route 23 through Thousand Oaks to the hilltop museum honoring our 40th president.  The winding road to the museum and Air Force One is lined with celebratory presidential banners beginning with George Washington and on through Lincoln and Obama, and concluding with the current president.

RR 1A RR statue

With admission $26 for seniors, the Reagan Presidential Library buzzes with we spry elderly and school kids.  Meandering through the exhibits, we travel through time to Reagan’s childhood, his movie career, his entry into politics, and his presidential years (1981-1989).  The tour begins with a four-minute film on Reagan’s upbringing and then an ingenious hologram of him giving a speech revealing his humble, humorous nature.  

RR 3 D at podium

Jimmy Carter was just so happy for me that day in 1981

Throughout the tour, there are docents aplenty to answer our questions and provide additional information.  His second wife Nancy is prominently displayed throughout as it truly seems that she and her guy were quite a team.

Hannah asks about his first wife, Jane Wyman.  One of the volunteer docents (350 in all, working four hour shifts) tells us there is only one picture of her since she divorced him.  We were told that Jane Wyman was not happy with his stardom eclipsing hers or his move into politics.  Really?  What would Jane say?  Who knows?

RR 2C electoral map v carter 1980

This is what a landslide looks like

That said, the self-guided museum tour is a nostalgic journey from the late 1950s through Reagan’s tenure as president in the 1980s.  It is certainly spun with a flattering Republican weave of the times.  If you were white, upper middle class, and rich, these were pretty good times.

A film clip of his speech at the Berlin Wall in 1987 where he said, Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall is stirring and heartfelt.  I leave with the impression that he was one helluva nice guy whose calling card was the personal touch.  The museum curators succeeded.

RR 4 Air Force One

Once through the museum (there might have been a presidential library, but I never saw it), we walk down a corridor to a football field size, three story floor-to-ceiling windowed area to the actual Air Force One that was actually used by seven presidents.

Hannah says, I wouldn’t have missed this experience.  Spending a fascinating three hours in the company of a legendary figure, I recommend this hilltop testament to Ronald Reagan.


Additional images from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

RR 3E RR with Tip O'Neil

Republican President Ronald Reagan with Tip O’Neil, the Democrat House Majority Leader,  to his right, contrasts with today’s polarizing partisanship.



RR 2 Jack Reagan

No sugar coating about his dad


RR 3B generosity to carter

A magnanimous gesture from one president to his predecessor


RR 3C share birthday with H

Who knew he shared a birthday with Hannah!  Well, she did.


RR 4A H at Air Force One

Entering Air Force One


RR 4C inside AFO

Within the presidential plane


RR 6 Berlin Wall

Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Dan and Hannah Hike the Watkins Glen Gorge in central New York

Wat map 2

Watkins Glen Gorge State Park promises nineteen waterfalls!  Hannah and I are all in!  Though we are hiking on a late October Friday in the low 40s, it turns out it’s a great time of year as many of the low hanging leaves have fallen and views are extraordinary.

Wat 1 Brooks

Brooks with his Daddy

Coming to hang out with our grandson Brooks, and, of course, his parents, we are pleased to see that they have taken to parenting like fish to water, like Dan and Hannah to pickleball, like Tom Brady to being the GOAT (greatest of all time!).  Despite the many sleep-deprived nights, Will and Laurel show their love to their happy, laughing bambino hour after hour, day after day.

Wat 1AAA Watkins sign

Driving 25 miles west of Ithaca, New York, we come upon the upper parking lot by the picnic areas and massive Dirty Dancing-size swimming pool of the Watkins Glen Gorge State Park.  The attendant takes our $8 and says that with a few more cold days, the park will close.

Wat 1AAAA H at start of trail excellent

Feeling the administration of state parks could use all the financial support they can get, we gladly pay.  It’s $8!  Please!  The employees need health benefits, a livable wage, and the park needs tender loving care.  I encourage you to go out of your way to pay the very modest fees at state parks when you hit the trails.  Check out the trio of videos and the cavalcade of photographs below to see what you get from this 1.5 miles of trail that drops 400 feet from stem to stern!

From the parking area we descend to the gorge by following, get this for irony, the Gorge Trail.  It’s all well-marked as we quickly descend through the Spiral Staircase Tunnel.  Passing behind this rocking falls, we feel the H2O that’s heading towards Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes here in central New York.

We are soon sloshing along the stone walkways of the narrow Gorge Trail from the many falls.  With 832 steps from top to bottom, we have evidence of the Civilian Conservation Corps creativity and dedication in digging into these narrow gorge walls to make a trail of slate steps.  This extraordinary waterside trail/walkway is evidence of the master craftsmanship of the stone artisans plying their trade during the Depression of the 1930s.

Busier than I would have guessed, the Friday midday crowd has us walking leisurely as we take the time to smell the metaphorical roses of the cascading water, rather than being hell-bent on getting exercise as we usually are.

With barriers to the gorge most of the way until you get to the flatter upper trail, the slate walkway is a great family hike.  The final ascent up what is known as Jacob’s Ladder is 180 steps.  By the way, Jacob’s Ladder is referenced in Genesis as the up and down pathway to heaven for angels.

As you might have guessed, we rocked with many hiking angels today.


More gorge photographs

Wat 1 H by red tree

Proceeding to the gorge from the parking lot


Wat 1AA Han at falls at start


Wat 1C narrow gorge


Wat 2 D in gorge on stairs


Wat 2B gorge falls


Wat 4 falls through trees


Wat 5A longer view of side falls


Wat 6 Jacob's Ladder sign