Welcome to 2015

Well, we all made it again – another circuit around Sol.

2014 in retrospect was a good-bad year, but thankfully it went out with a whimper and not a bang, like 2013 did.

The beginning of the year had us reeling from the passing of Maria’s mother, just weeks before Christmas 2013. This was both hard and good for the family, Birgitta had been dealing with cancer since it was discovered in 2012(?) – she wasn’t given a good prognosis nor a lot of time. However, Birgitta was simply too full of life to go out quickly. She lived thrice as long as the doctors estimated and essentially lived on her own terms right up to the end, travelling and visiting friends and family internationally just as for many years passing. The final family Thanksgiving in Atlanta was good, even if it was clearly her last hurrah. Merely weeks after she passed easily, at home, with loving family present. Birgitta is missed, and will be missed, her passing has left the world a somewhat less bright place.

Maria herself has kept on keeping-on, but her mother’s passing is hard on her still. I think that she is going to be reeling from it inside for a while yet.

Academically speaking Maria is doing well. The program she is leading at King’s College – the Computer Science program – is turning out capable students – proven by the very high having-a-job-in-the-industry rate that her graduates are achieving, both in the local area and larger metro areas like Philadelphia and Washington DC. This being her fifth year at King’s she has submitted her tenure packet, and after review she was recommended for tenure by the committee – not that it was a surprise that she was recommended. Sometime over the coming months the final decision should be made, and then she will be promoted to being more than an Assistant Professor!

Maria, beyond work and academics, I feel, needs to bring taking care of herself -physiologically at least – to a higher priority. This is in fact her intent, and we have embarked on the journey to help make that happen. Wish her luck!

Of myself, Mr. Bear as some would say, 2014 also had it’s own special punctuation.

I personally found last winter very hard to deal with, the long deep cold (and I mean deep – sub-zero-F frequently) took a lot of Will To Play out of me. The fact that I was rehabilitating a cycling injury (RSI problem with my let knee) from fall 2013 did not help as it kept me off the bike and skis well into January 2014. The only vestige of play I had was the Bike Fit spin+workout classes that my friend Dave led for much of the winter. Even the cross-country skiing was infrequent and challenging because of the excessive cold!

Just as the winter had finally relented and spring was finally popping and the cycling was getting good I broke myself.

I was participating in the Duryea Downhill mountain bike race in Reading PA, yeah, crazy me. We (Dave, Amy, Justin, myself, and a couple others) had gone down to Reading to ride the trails and course a few times prior to the race, to get comfy with the venue and our bikes. My bike was brand-new, a 2013 Kona Park Operator, and was a significant upgrade for DH riding over my previous DH Bike. My bike being brand-new was probably my downfall as I really didn’t have a bunch of time on it to truly get in sync with riding it. Well, that and bad luck. Previous days riding and the Saturday practice day were no problem but on my race run I crashed in the false flat section just before the ‘bunker jump’ and in the crash managed to break my right clavicle. Lucky me, I broke it as well and cleanly as humanly possible – neither needing advanced immediate EMS care, drugs, or even surgery.

The screwy situation this put me into was going to Sweden with Maria on vacation with my arm in a sling, which we did, less than 3 weeks after my accident.

The trip to Sweden was wonderful. It was my first time back since 1997 (way too long), and this time it didn’t rain every day! Uncle Ulf was a fabulous host, taking the brunt of being our hotel and amenities provider for the time we were there. It was a very pleasant visit with him, enjoying his company, his cooking, his tour guiding, and his classic movies, staying at the family house in Vallby. We had a great – but brief – visit with Uncle Lars and Aunt Monica in Kvarsebo, following the family gathering in Kolmorden. I had a nice hike with Monica while Lars and Maria went fishing for herring on Braviken. I’m know Maria had a great time both with Lars and Monica, and also catching up with the family in Kolmorden. Frankly, the family gathering was overwhelming. All those platinum blonde Swedes running around! And, as much as I do enjoy hearing the language spoken – it has such a wonderful cadence and lilt – not speaking much of it does wear on a person after a while. My hat is off to the courtesy of the the family for putting up with this non-Swedish-speaking relation.

After returning home it was great to be released from restrictions of use of my arm, but it was a long road to feeling somewhat normal on the bike. It definitely had put a wet rag on my activities over the summer, which was frustrating.

The rest of the year was, honestly and thankfully, fairly uneventful.

Well, except for when Maria sprained her ankle the first day of fall classes. She’s recovered from that at this point but let it be said that it was handy to already have good crutches in the house for her to use for a few weeks.

So now it’s January 2015, and time to look forward again.

Let’s just see how this year shapes up for The Jumps, there are already a few things to look forward to …

  • Maria and My “100 year Birthday Party” – sometime in June I think
  • Maria being promoted to full Professor

For my personal craziness, I’m learning how to snowboard this year, I’m going to participate in some MTB races this year – DH, Enduro, Endurance, and maybe even XC, and I already have a spring bike trip nailed down – the 1st weekend of April (yes Easter weekend) I’m heading down to western NC for a MTB gathering in Pisgah.

Keep the rubber-side down folks!

Autumn Again

It’s been a full summer.

Maria’s had some great time off and done some fun geocaching adventures.

She also wrote a work-book for one of her class-sequences at King’s, which is now being applied to her entry level students. Sure to  have some revisions as she goes but there is hope to be able to publish it for real in a year or so.

Work for me at USPS continues at what would be a “nominal” pace for me – it’s just too held back by paperwork compared to my previous development career in computer gaming to consider it a hard level of effort, even though I’ve basically wholesale refactored major portions of one of our two big data feeds (both inbound and outbound). The coming year proves to be “curious” as the replacement system for the one I work with is being designed and I’ll likely be involved in development to some degree – at least that what I’ve been told.

My cycling this summer was different than last, I did get MORE cross-country than last, which is good, but still not enough epic rides. It’s tough as I don’t have a regular / reliable epic riding partner, much less group. I think next year I’m going to lobby for a SPOT tracker and just go off into the back country by myself and to heck with it.

I have had a really great year with the downhilling. Dave and Amy Temerantz are such fun people to spend time with, and great “DH buddies” – I wish they had the “long XC ride” bug bite them though. It’s just not going to happen. The three of us raced in the Diablo Gravity Series at Diablo Freeride MTB Park in Vernon NJ  this year and I think Amy is going to be pretty high if not 1st in standings in her class come the last race. I’m going to race both events at the next one and see if I can’t come in with a higher overall than Dave. Not sure, but it may be possible, we’ll see.

Next year I may want to race some XC/marathon things IN ADDITION to the DH stuff. Kind-of depends upon what Dave & Amy want to do. I sort-of hope they decide they want to do the Gravity East Series as that would get us to different venues. I would not likely be able to afford to go to every race, but I’d probably try!

But now, it’s autumn. The world is wet – it’s been a time of “epic rain” here in NE PA. The leaves are changing. Time to think about a fender for my MTB. And a second pair of tights maybe – should have thought of that last weekend at the swap-meet!

Also maybe time to get the skiis prepared for winter, so they’re ready. Kick-n-glide time is coming sooner than not, maybe.

Welcome back, Spring!

In a mere two days Spring season will officially be here.

Today though, starts Bear’s real cycling season for 2011. Daylight is being Saved, bikes are *mostly* ready, and the Plan is Engaged to go longer, bigger, and further than any previous year.

Honey will even be drug along for some of the ride, I hope she survives!

So cheers, have fun, get some fresh air, see you outside!

7 Months Later

It hasn’t been a static 7 months, but we just don’t seem to diver time to maintaining the blog a whole lot. Too bad.


Maria coached her first group of students to a successful ACM Programming competition, a regional level competition held locally here at Wilkes University. The King’s group managed to do better than any other group from the Wyoming-Valley – which was awesome! Next year, I expect even better results for them.

Maria has started getting priority back into recovering her physical health, going to the gym fairly regularly and such, join me in wishing her luck continuing that into 2011, mm-kay?

Maria has also managed to survive not only her first year at King’s, with glowing reviews, but her hardest semester yet. With luck she’s “over the hump” and it will start to ease up a bit now and she will able to work less than 100 hrs a week (or something like that).

Maria’s had a blast geocaching here though, she’s managed to keep that hobby going well ’nuff on the various days off. She just hit milestone 3500 when she and a some friends went out for the Christmas Cache up in mid-state New York. It was a huge long day trip, but she had a blast and that is what was important.

We took our first vacation together in quite some time, in the summer we hooked up our little camping trailer and wheeled our way up to Vermont and Maine. We spent a couple days near East Burke VT – originally so I could get some cycling in at the Kingdom Trails – alas that didn’t work out since my bike broke on the first ride. We spent the bulk of the time geocaching around the area, and into Quebec, and had a great stay. We then cruised over to the coast of Maine (just outside Southport) and had a great couple days there too. We even managed to connect with a VERY old girl-friend of Maria’s and her family one day. On the way back we stayed at an “inland cruise ship” as we called it – a Yogi Bear campground. Never again. Not a BAD place, but not “us” – too busy and too organized. It was in a nice area, not too far from La Palz NY, which we need to find our way back to.

For me, it was a year of stabilizing myself at work, changing from being a contractor- to becoming a US Postal Service employee. It was also a year of expanding my cycling horizons, I spent a lot of time doing downhill with my new friends Dave and Amy T at various chair-lift based cycling venues and learned new skills of catching air and dropping big and basically hauling butt. I’m not sure Maria is very happy with it, but I am. I look forward to doing more in 2011.

My cross-country cycling has taken a hit from all this I think, so I need to bring that back up. I’m not happy with that and I need to find a way to make both of these things work out.

It was also a sad cycling year, as both my mountain bikes broke. The one that broke in VT wasn’t a big deal, but when my 7 year old Quasi-Moto broke in September that was a saddening thing. That bike and I had been through a lot of craziness together, and it had seen me go from a cycling-hooked individual to a completely cycling-obsessed individual, had been on a number of road trips with me, and through a number of races. I’ve been able to find used stuff to ride since then, and make mine, but nothing feels yet like I have found the replacement- or worthy-successor for the Quasi-Moto. It was truly a unique machine for a special time in my life.

The best family news I had all year was when at Thanksgiving we found out that my little sister is engaged! I’m looking forward to that party next year, it ought to be fun. And it will happen merely a month after Maria and I go to Switzerland to celebrate the same thing for Maria’s dear friend Jean-Philippe when he and his gal celebrate nuptuals at his family home in June.

And that about sums up 2010, dear reader.

May Again

It seems to me that life is always going to be bittersweet. Good with Bad. Yin with Yang.

This month, along with celebrating another great year with Wife I get to remember and have the feelings surrounding the deaths of Dad, Aunt Betsy, Aunt Millie, and friend Anthony all together.

I suppose that each year will allow the remembrances to become more distant and a little easier. I hope so, because I find myself strangely drained – ambivalent – unmotivated of my goals – and there is no real good reason.

I am thankful hat Dad and Betsy and Aunt Millie don’t have to Fight their Fights. But they are missed.

I am also thankful for the people I do have. Old and new. That keep me engaged in life and positive motion.

Tempes Fugit
Carpe Diem


We finally managed to visit some of our East Coast friends this weekend.

Sad, but it took the threat of them moving to our previous home town of Austin TX in the immediate future to galvanize a very targeted weekend – going to see one family and one only.

You know, it was great. No big deal, no stress, easy to get going, we had a fabulous time. We’re super happy with the weekend and we’ve decided that is how we need to go about reconnecting with the rest of our friends.

So, K&D, M&M, L&E, Sister, Sister, etc., you’ve been warned. ;^)

We’re also sad to learn that a dear friend’s daughter had an appendix problem Saturday and was hospitalized. It SOUNDS like she’s going to be fine, but she’s not home yet, so our thoughts and prayers are with Family G this weekend.

Time Is Fleeting

Somebody once said that time flies, and boy are they right. It feels like only yesterday we were dealing with Family Christmas Drama and here it is the Ides of March. Maybe things will go better this year, it sure could not be that difficult if only important people can try to not die off like they did last spring.

A New Year

We made it. 2010 now spreads out before us like a blank painter’s canvas, awaiting color and stroke to provide it feature and meaning. The questions posed … Which colors to use? What strokes to apply? How deeply to tread? Who to journey with? Please think kindly of us as we go hand in hand into our new future.