Ole The Temptation To Argue

Here’s a fun pic. Team World, Summer of 2004. That’s Dave Scott at the back. In 2004, Dave was a little younger than I am now. A little younger, and doing a whole lot more! This is the squash court where I met my wife, she’s got her head down with the black tights. Big summer for me! I finished 2nd at Ironman Canada and won a much bigger prize when I brought Monica into my life.

Zealots will try to draw you out.


Not just zealots, my kids are always seeking to get me to take a side.

It drives them bananas when I won’t remove their discomfort (by telling them what to think).

I know you want me to play the game but it’s really difficult for me to change my mind.

If they keep pushing then, “What’s the issue you’d like me to understand. I’ll research anything you’d like. It will take some time.”

…and I will go research.

…and I’ll report back.

My preferred source for information inflow is believable people focused on their area of expertise.

Falling into an argument is a luxury.

A luxury, that distracts from the work I need to be doing.

Arguments are unpredictable.

Other quick ways to free yourself:

Thank you => probably the best way to respond to criticism.

I’ve been wrong a lot in the past – I need to keep getting feedback, especially when painful.

I’m unlikely to change my mind immediately, but I might later.

So thanks.

Time will tell => I use this one with regard to politics, the virus and most recommendations to modify long-term strategy.

I like to combine the words with a small smile and a shrug of the shoulders. It’s much more effective than yelling, “there’s no frickin’ way for YOU to know that…” 😉

Acknowledge that I have no idea and need to wait and see.

I don’t know => My kids hear me say this one a lot.

My kids also hear… slow down, breathe and gentle, gentle, gentle.


If you’ve ever witnessed a person make a huge unforced error then you may have noticed they are tense, acting quickly and holding their breath.

You’re unlikely to have a productive conversation with that person => seek immediate exit.

Free yourself from the temptation to argue.

Do what needs to be done.

Corona Diary 15 July 2020

First tomatoes almost ready.

This week, I have been thinking about how tough it is to keep a population (and myself!) focused on the actions necessary to overcome an obstacle.

Regardless of your preferred leader, regardless of your beliefs => nationally, we haven’t defined the problem, let alone agreed on our course of action => the states are, however, trending closer to each other in their response to the virus.

Yesterday, saw all three in the basement with me – Core Circuit! That’s a cushion-igloo they made in the corner.

Andy’s thread putting the mind back in time and assessing our response based on the information available (in the past) was an interesting read. It gave me a nudge to go back to my earlier diaries and review how I was thinking.

I mentioned the liberate tweets last week but had forgotten when they occurred relative to our COVID journey.

Below is well-known virus quotes across time – it’s worth a read – we shaped the future we are living right now.

We will shape the future that’s coming towards us.

Our next major decision is the return to school. I’m watching what’s happening elsewhere and trying to avoid choosing until late-in-the-game.

In the news, about elsewhere, LA/SD public schools will be opening online only.

Our local university staff starting to get concerned about college kids infecting them. I learned about this through an open letter in our local paper.

Too much uncertainty to make any call on what things will look like in mid-August. This situation is unique. For 20+ years, I’ve had my life mapped forward on a rolling 12-month schedule.

Based on my April posts, we are doing much better than I expected. Below is what better looks like in Colorado.


It is like our governor has an early-warning system. Last week we re-closed the bars and, sure enough, our positives/hospitalizations have popped this week.

We’ve been told our state-wide R0 has gone over 1.0 and are getting clear recommendations on how to reduce:

  • Wash hands
  • Wear a mask
  • Drop interactions to 1/3rd of pre-COVID level, outside as much as possible

Cali did a major rollback of their re-opening program this past week.

Our President commuted the sentence of one of his cronies – some commentary about “Nixon not even doing that.” The comparisons to Nixon don’t ring true to me. Our President reminds me more of Bill Clinton. For younger readers, here is a link to Clinton’s pardon controversy.

Taleb wrote an article about Lebanon that had me thinking about the unintended consequences of the Federal Reserve’s debt buying program. Ponzi to Antifragility.

Saw a headline that the June deficit was $864 billion – went on the White House website to see how that month stacked up against other years. Pretty legit month.

I fear we will waste Trillions before we learn what the Kiwi’s, and East Asians, understood from the start.

Life Lessons From Sport

Some folks do better with exercise => some parents too!

I’ve been working on my Athlete’s Journey essay for a month.

It’s become a never-ending project because I keep coming up with new ideas to share with you.

So let’s step back and think about the essential message.

Assume you are graduating from High School, virtually.

What can I share with you about sport?

As an adult:

  • The pursuit of sport opens your field of potential partners => this isn’t just about sex. Across all fields, all cultures – athletic people are considered desirable.
  • Structured training crowds out bad habits. Take a look around and you’ll see people getting themselves into difficulties that wouldn’t happen if they were pursuing an athletic lifestyle.
  • The challenges of athletic training will surface your self-defeating habits. Over a few seasons, it’s certain that you will see your process fail. Process failure is a low-stakes way to get to know yourself.
  • The stress of competition gives you a non-lethal environment to practice coping skills.

Better opportunities, an ability to see my process break down, a non-lethal field of play for high stakes and less space for getting myself into trouble.

All good.

While you are young… find your people.

You don’t get to choose your family. You do get to choose your friends, coaches and mentors.

You are likely to have more flexibility to move around within your athletic life than your academic (working) life.

Great people are out there, to help you become who you’d like to be.

Now, somewhere down the athletic track – decades before the rest of your life starts to decline – you’ll have another opportunity => to begin the transition from Fitness to Function.

What I mean is, you might take a look around and say to yourself, “what am I really up to here?”

In answering this question, I cycled through a process of dig in, quit and adapt. I’m still working through it.

By answering this question, as it relates to your sport, you’ll set the scene for addressing a deeper question of meaning within your life.

Navigating athletic “aging” can be seen as a practice to prepare you for another journey that will likely begin 20 years later, the transition out of middle age and into elderhood.

What To Do

Yesterday’s adventure => James Peak, James Peak Wilderness.

These thoughts have been coming back to me for a couple months so I thought I’d write them down and send them on their way!

Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.

Regardless of what you believe, our collective actions have confirmed the above for two decades.

Likewise, if you claim to believe otherwise, but support people who act as if deficits don’t matter, then you should be more honest with yourself.

I figured my son would be tired after hiking a 14er earlier in the week. So I filled my pack with water to “get a workout.” At the summit, I poured it out – remembering my buddy Stu and my Grandmother.

Two tax cuts and a war choice, by the son of a man who raised taxes, brought the troops home and lost his re-election campaign.

For me, Bush 41 was the last President to act against his interest. Most the other Presidents, of my lifetime, made a choice to use the strength of the nation for their own interest.

This isn’t surprising, it’s the same dynamic we see in families and CEOs.

Economists call it an agency problem => when your personal interest conflicts with the needs of the nation, business or family => in the absence of well thought out systems, your personal interest wins out.

High in the the James Peak Wilderness Area. It’s a different crowd above treeline.

20 years of poor Federal habits have run into the Corona virus and wow!

The Federal Reserve/Federal Government are spending the nation’s capital like we are in the middle of World War Three.

So, are we, or aren’t we, …on a war footing.

We’re spending like we are in serious trouble but bickering about small details like we aren’t.

We need to make up our mind.

If we’re on a war footing then we should acknowledge it and take collective action: activate the reserves, mobilize our young people through selective service (the draft) and bring as many of the troops home as we can.

If selective service isn’t politically feasible then how about this… stop paying people for not working.

Instead => offer the nation’s unemployed, and under-employed, a job.

Each time I hike a backcountry trail, I’m reminded of the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Collectively, we could certainly use a Corona Crisis Corps to help our nation stay open.

Keep America open and, while we’re at it => offer our nation’s young people the opportunity to create something for their future.

Lots of flowers up high right now.

Home School Stuff

Pretty sweet car-camping spot

Pics are from this week’s field trip to Huron Peak, one of my favorite parts of our state.

One of the benefits of COVID (wiping out my travel schedule) is the motivation to undertake challenging drives.

Huron Peak had a 1:1 drive:hike ratio.

Chalk that up to another thing I wouldn’t have expected to enjoy.

Probably took the Volvo a little past its design specifications for the final two miles of the drive. However, we made it (just) and the views from our campsite were pretty awesome.

Today is the end of Week 17 and I feel like I’m in the home stretch for lockdown/summer school.

We are 5.5 weeks away from getting real school back. Our district is going full speed towards a reopening on August 19th. Same with our local university.

The reopening has me feeling nervous for what’s in store => September / October. I wonder if I’ll be COVID-free by Halloween.

I’d feel a whole lot better if there was more info on therapeutic options => even if I was using g-medicine to fool myself.

A Frogg Toggs rain suit turns any outfit into cold weather gear.

Kids spent this week testing out of their next grade math. Our tutor, who is a district math teacher, wanted to have proof so the kids can jump a year when they return.

I had to come up with something to keep our oldest engaged on Wednesday morning, so I promoted her to the manager of the Kirkland Apple Sauce factory. As factory manager, she had to do production calculations for packaging and apple sauce.

My wife’s birthday is coming up so we’re transitioning from 4th of July decorations to Birthday Week Celebrations!

“Have you made your mother a birthday card?”

“Well, make her another one. She does a lot for you.”

Special event preparation helps fill our days.

Sunrise around 12,000 ft.

Home School Science Fair – Round Two

First, the wire for the homopolar motor project was too thin.

Then the wire was too thick!

I’m hoping for “just right” with the third round.

I also got a blank stare when I asked, “Hey, what’s a homopolar motor, anyway?”

We’re chipping away.

We forgot my son’s shoes in Boulder and found a pair for $3.25 at Dollar General in Leadville, CO. The shoes were heavier than my trekking boots but they made it!

Our tutors are gearing up for a return to school so we will be getting less support in August. The kids were bummed. I appreciated the notice so I could give some thought to more outdoor education options.

By the way, my kids’ reaction was a reminder that humans love predictability and routine. You can use this knowledge to drive positive change in your own life.

Start each day by doing a little bit of what needs to be done.

Train for me => read for them.

The comfort is real. Axel forgot his shoes but he remembered his book.

~13,900 feet. Flowers are popping above treeline.

This is Liam the Summit Goat. I’m guessing someone made the mistake of feeding him, once. Please don’t feed the animals, or the trolls!

You can mail order 14’er patches from The Trailhead. I hid this one in his pack. Huron was his 10th 14er.

Some legit lines over his shoulder. Those are The Three Apostles. The middle one is also called Ice Mountain. Teaching my kids about cycling, climbing, hiking, ocean swimming is a double-edged sword. I remember my close calls, there were many. My view => Prepared is better than sheltered.

My masked hike was fine until I sneezed, the (too) rapid inhale scared the crap out of me. This time, my partner saved the Clone Wars discussion until the descent.

Coleman makes a six-person instant cabin – it takes one minute to set up, excluding fly. Two camping beds and we had chairs going as well. The tent isn’t recommended for a windy day but awesome for car camping. They are 6’x9′ => I’d want two if I had the full family (two adults, three kids).

Masking is spreading across the state, even in the parts with an individual, rather than collective, spirit.

Mask use is minimal on the trails. This made me want to confine my 14er trips to weekdays.


Well, I was trying to calculate in my head walking down Huron Peak. However, I can’t calculate the probability of a recurring series of events without a calculator.

Frankly, I struggle to believe the numbers even when I check the formula.

3,000 encounters… what’s the expected chance to stay healthy?

Chance of infection 1:1,000,000 => (0.999999)^(3,000) = 99.7% healthy

Slide up the risk curve 1:100,000 risk => (0.99999)^(3,000) = 97.0% healthy

Your state blows up and your activity has 1:10,000 infection chance, repeat 3,000x => (0.9999)^(3,000) = 74.1% healthy

Low chances, repeated, result in material chances.

Minimizing repeated exposure + reducing the nature of exposure = get sick later

Corona Diary 8 July 2020

Two out of three joining the morning sessions now. After watching “Touch The Wall” our oldest is considering joining.

Doing these updates once a week seems to be enough to provide me with a record of developments and not get too wrapped up in the news cycle.

Under COVID, it’s particularly rewarding to find ways to improve.

Testing week for me, lifetime best for power clean / push press and nudged my bench best up by 5lbs from three weeks ago. I think I can safely do a bit better.

Time to move on to the next module => SF45 Bravo. I will be swapping back squat for bench squat in the next plan. The risk of injury with (solo) bench squat is too high for me.

Over in Aspen, a friend did the Triple Crown ride with his 15-year-old daughter. Independence Pass, Ashcroft and Maroon Bells => 88 miles and 8,000 vertical feet! It caught my eye for post-COVID goals with my oldest. We’ll have a vaccine deployed in three years, right?!

The Emperor Has No Clothes

Our political class won’t mention this because it will damage their own candidate.

Regardless of the winner of the election, by 2023, we are going to see the need for a constitutional amendment to cap the eligibility age for high office => might as well sort everything at once: President, Senate and Supreme Court.

To get it done, remember the history of the rule for a Natural Born for president. The Founders grandfathered the people who approved the rule. Link to that clause.

You can see the age of all our Presidents in this link.

In my lifetime,

  • Reagan was the most compromised at the end of his term, just before his 78th birthday.
  • Biden is 77 => gaffes at 77 are not the same as at 57.
  • My heart sank watching Trump (74) walk down the ramp at West Point.
  • Sanders (78) came close to the nomination, while having a heart attack in the primaries.

In Denver we are turning away patients at our free testing site because we are short on test supplies. 2,000 tests per day is the limit. I suspect our Governor will be on that in a hurry. Tests ran out at lunchtime yesterday.

Vail Mountain is open for the summer. I hear it is busy but not as busy as last year.

Positives are remaining subdued across the state. I’ll paste our testing/positivity data below. Here is the link to the source page.

You can see the growth that triggered the bars being closed again. Our experience is behind what I expected in late-April.

Starting to see a hospitalization uptick, perhaps.

With the virus blowing up in other parts of the US, we should have a clearer idea of the hospitalization rate for young people by the end of July.

I wouldn’t spend any emotional energy on wishing “things were less political” during a Presidential Election year. Everything is going to be political the entire year, and probably after. When people are scared, stressed and angry… tribal instincts increase. It’s the way we are wired.

That said, I’ve started taking notes for a piece on “What To Do?” I know a few members of the 1% and they have been asking themselves what actions they can take.

For you personally, my advice is simple => do something hard.

Take a small step, every single day, to improve yourself. There’s nothing tougher than overcoming ourselves.

In fact, there is a mantra I say when the kids overcome themselves, “We do tough things!

Not sure about which “tough thing?” What one thing, if it happened, would change everything? One small step, daily, in that direction.

Don’t feed the trolls => early last month, I dropped the three loudest people in my twitter feed. I kinda miss the excitement but I don’t miss the drama. For me, they failed the 30-day test.

White House is shifting from “it will blow over” to a “surrender and deal with it” posture. I’m glad we don’t run our military, or economy, with the strategic thinking we have seen from this administration.

COVID makes me wonder just how bad it’s gotten with our foreign policy.

Australia reported to be locking apart their most populous states => to control an outbreak in Melbourne.

With our statues under attack, I’m reminded of my time at Catholic High School and learning about the Jewish, Protestant, and Muslim dislike for idolatry.

On that topic, the President has a point, made poorly. Right now is not the time to focus ourselves on tearing down (society, ourselves, anyone who disagrees with us). We need to come together. Our collective life is going to get very difficult if the virus runs the table in the second half of this year.

Another point on the President – everybody (pro & con) knows who the guy is and he’s done exactly what he told us he’d do.

The morning after he was elected, I was asked what I thought and observed,

Air Force One, baby. He’s got no interest in government.

I thought this was an excellent idea. County level red alert system – helps keep our economy, and schools open:

Click to read the full thread – green zone concept – this is smart.

Activities by risk profile – so easy my 7-year old could grasp it.

PDF of the chart.

The freedom tweets (to pressure early re-opening) appear to have not aged well.

Each time I read someone ripping on Sweden, I remind myself… Many months to run and current views are not indicative of where we will end up.

Not sure I’ll remember the drama/debate over the hydroxychloroquine cocktail. It’s been flipping back and forth on a 4-6 week cycle. Useful vs not useful.

Like so much, I need to remind myself that I am not qualified to understand the debate.

Getting Back To Cycling

From days gone by => Sunshine Beach, QLD, Australia. Married, no kids, scared of Queensland traffic!

Yesterday was 60 days in a row of riding and I wanted to jot down some notes.

The last time I got back in bike shape I was in my early-40s with only one kid and no lockdown restrictions.

Times have changed!

Another blast from the past => as an elite athlete, physiological testing helped me get the most out of my training. This one was during blood lactate testing in NZ.

At the start of May, I’d been locked down since March 13th and was injured from my run program. Early in our lockdown, my wife ordered a Peloton spin bike. I decided to try it out.

May 8th was my first ride. I immediately enjoyed the format – music with no cars. I also liked the fact that my public health authority couldn’t take away my ability to ride indoors!

It’s been a fun progression:

  • May 13th => 20-minute best effort ride (222w, 152 bpm)
  • June 25th, held 221w for 75 minutes at 137bpm
  • 1st week of July held 230w for an hour at 139bpm

I’m at ~3 watts per kilo in my “peppy aerobic zone” – that’s good enough. I’m pleased how it worked out.

A proud moment from my athletic career. Being hung on the Wall of Fame in Dr John Hellemans office. There are a lot of VERY good athletes on that wall! John cared enough to teach an arrogant, but passionate, stranger about exercise physiology and coaching. I learned so much from him.

Here’s my training protocol, you don’t need a Peloton. You do need a bike, a trainer, a heart rate monitor and a power meter.

Ride twice most days, mainly endurance. First ride is done before my kids wake up. I enjoy a cup of coffee then get rolling.

Endurance ride => the basic Peloton format…

  • Three song warm-up
    • Song 1 just spin, build cadence and power into Zone 2/Steady
    • Song 2 insert 4×30 seconds, spin-ups (cadence ~110 rpm) with power not more than Zone 3/Mod-hard
    • Song 3 split in half – Zone 2, Zone 3
  • Endurance set, alternate by song Zone 3 / Zone 2 => 20-45 minutes based on time available.
  • Spin your HR under 100bpm when you’re done

That session is the bulk of my bike training, it works great and will continue to work great. Even more important, I’m having fun.

You can see everything I do on Strava => weights/strength/hills and a lot of “low” HR endurance.

If you go the Peloton route then they have an intro to power module (here’s their power FAQ).

Friday the 13th, March 2009, Kitt Peak, Ajo Highway, Arizona => 40 years old, one of the first times I can remember stopping (mid climb) to take a picture!

Bonus tips:

  • The target power zone sets the MINIMUM for your workout target – put a floor on work – if you can’t hit your endurance zones, or if your HR pops, then your zones are set too high. Upward zone creep is common across all ability levels!
  • Heart rate zone sets the MAXIMUM for your workout – put a ceiling on stress – once warmed up, I give myself permission to push the watts up a bit, so long as my HR stays in my target zone. When I consistently generate higher level power, on lower level HR, I know it’s time to retest my zones.
  • Climbing/Big Gear workouts are a great way to rack up Threshold Watts (Z4) at Mod-Hard Heart Rates (Z3). Example here.
  • My toughest workouts are crisscross sessions – about an hour a week – warm-up and power is going over/under FTP with recoveries in Zone 3/Mod-Hard. Example here.
  • Traditional Spin Classes are done for variety, as a pep rally and to build quickness/cadence. Quickness is key as we age. This skill was tough when I started – it came back fast.
  • Being able to use Peloton to create a “proper” program was a surprise – I thought it was all spin classes and high intensity. Guess I am a bit out of date.
  • The 20-minute benchmarking test is a “nice” session in itself – kinda hurts at the end. You don’t need, or want, to be doing much truly tough stuff in 2020. There are many better places for you to put your energy.
  • Peloton has world class coaches – Alex Toussaint leaves me feeling cheerful every_single_time I do one of his classes. Throughout lockdown, I was laughing out loud with his classes. Laughter is good medicine.
  • Lift weights – moving your power zones up won’t improve your life. Getting stronger will improve your life.

A fun memory => at the end of a 12-day training camp in the Rockies, we did a handicapped TT up Mt Evans (28-mile climb that tops out above 14,000 feet). We adjusted times based on rider/bike weight. Someone noticed I was pounding fluids at the back of the line and we had to redo the weigh-in! This is my buddy Clas, he was training for Zofingen Duathlon so running 2x per day as well as all the cycling we did (over 100,000 feet of vertical). Needless to say, his legs were less than snappy. It was the only time in my life when I could beat him in a sprint!

Clas and me, later, riding into the clouds! The top 14 miles of the climb are closed to traffic this summer. If you ride then pack top/bottom shell and a very warm jacket. Also beware of the dreaded downhill-bonk!

Some specific thoughts on intensity.

  • When you’re training with power, you can track total work measured in kilojoules (KJ). If you’re a time-limited athlete (running home school, working, cleaning your house…) then KJs are worth noting.
  • You’ll quickly see that highly intense workouts have a poor KJ-to-Fatigue ratio. You get a lot of fatigue without much work being done.
  • You might think intensity is a good deal. It’s not. It’s an awful deal because highly intense workouts are stressful and stress makes you eat / crave sugar. Bad deal all around => you can easily gain fat while exercising often and feeling tired. Lose-Lose.
  • The Win-Win is a cardio program that adds energy to your overall life and helps guide your body composition, an endurance-based program.
  • Once your endurance is well established 6-18 months, it only takes a bit of tough stuff to get your numbers to bounce.
  • Your overall program needs to keep you under your sugar threshold. Cravings, and bingeing, are signs of depletion and excess stress.

Aim for a protocol you can do every day for 15 weeks.

Challenge yourself to eliminate the habits that screw up tomorrow’s training.

Keep it simple and repeat the week.

Celebrate Success

South Arapahoe Peak, yesterday

Given the simultaneous outbreaks we have in the US, our media is going to have plenty of fodder for negative stories this month.

If you follow the news cycle closely, then this could be a tough few weeks for you.

Consider scheduling a few days offline.

The route follows the left skyline – it was at my limit for “unroped spicy with two of my favorite people”

If you’re sucking in a lot of negativity then you might find spillover inside your head. The spillover may manifest as a negative voice beating you down internally.

A lot of us aren’t able to “hear” the soundtrack in our heads. As a coach, I would notice it when my athletes had a habit of negative expression in voice and written words.

To counter a habit of negativity, I’d assign an excerise => buy a small notebook and end each day by writing down one positive thing that happened.

Every single day.

Life happens where you focus.

Change your focus, change your life.

Ax-man was a little buried by the end of the weekend. When it comes to fatigue, he has developed excellent coping skills.

Our Science Fair was a huge hit.

Secret ingredients to the traditional vinegar/baking soda lava recipe – a little dish soap, a little water and red food coloring – you can see the red chunks in the lava

Public speaking starts at home – learning to listen (and not correct) also starts at home

Spoiled is when you think your life is difficult but it isn’t.

Living under COVID is difficult in many ways. We are learning to embrace and enjoy our challenges.

It would have been very difficult for me to engineer rapid positive change without the challenges of closures, home school and social isolation.

Byrn Family Fitness Center – if there’s a will then you can figure it out. Picture is our Saturday morning fitness program. My son is finishing his “walk back” – I’m running my hill repeat in the background. The local college kids have embraced our street and we see some spectacular runners blaze past.

Personal responsibility is a key value of mine. In the past, this was to the exclusion of maintaining relationships. My kids have helped me do better with finding a balance between hard and soft skills.

Lots of personal responsibility was on display this past weekend: packing our own gear for a climb, learning to recover from a deep bonk (with grace and without blaming anyone), taking care of siblings.

The habit of having to take care of ourselves at home is spilling over into our larger lives.

Ax looking down the wrong turn I was about to make for my family. Thankfully, we managed an upward traverse back onto the main route.

Money and Kids

The basics:

  • An unconditional allowance set at $1 per week, per year of age
  • Money sits with Bank of Dad and yields 10% APR – I want my kids to get very excited about compound interest – we have a generation of kids growing up in a no-yield environment – this will have a HUGE impact on our societies – don’t know specifics but do know it will change finance for a long time
  • I hold a veto on any spending out of the “allowance account” – there is no obligation for me to be reasonable – if you disagree with my decision then…
  • Buy it yourself, kids can earn their own money – own money equals own choices – I want my kids to get excited about providing value to others and earning money for themselves – this is much more important to me than winning in sport
  • Summer reading prize – read every day across the summer and get a very good prize – it costs me $100 per kid, per summer, to create a habit of morning reading, without being asked!

The incentive structure has been successful.

Our latest addition is babysitting – our oldest taking care of our youngest. We’ve settled into $7 per hour for the oldest with $2 per hour to the youngest at the same time. We give them a written schedule with some easy chores to complete. This is the easiest “kid combo” for us to manage – the older sister/younger brother dynamic hasn’t been figured out, yet.

Another popular product is exterior cash wash at $5 per car, per kid.

Our oldest makes scrunches, masks and children’s stuffies. Orders, pricing, manufacturing, delivery… all sorted by her. Since school ended, she is averaging $75 per week of supplemental income.

Dawn breaks near the 4th of July Mine, Indian Peaks Wilderness

15 Years

Today’s my 15th wedding anniversary. I thought I’d leave something for my daughters.

I was born Canadian and figured if you’re going to marry an American then best to do it on the 4th of July.

In normal times, the benefits of a strong domestic partnership aren’t obvious. These aren’t normal times!

Being locked down with my wife is great. The other night I shared, “I could roll this for another 75 weeks, no problem.”

I saw my wife’s silent reply in her eyes… 75 frickin’ weeks?! Anyhow, she might not feel the same way about lockdown but she’s happy for me.

That might be a good first tip => the capacity to be happy for other people.

I had zero empathy through my 20s. Which bring us to the next tip…

End bad relationships early

You’re unlikely to get to a great marriage via a rocky courtship.

How will you know it is a bad relationship? Turn that question on its head.

Is it going to be the greatest mistake of your life if you let this person go? That’s how I felt when I proposed to Monica.

Be willing to be alone

A good marriage is an outstanding deal. It is worth a lot of effort to get there. There is so much stuff I don’t have to deal with.

However, there’s no rush to get there. It wasn’t until my 30s that I started to show any potential to be “marriage material.”

Don’t marry the prettiest girl in high school

This observation isn’t about being pretty, or being female.

It’s this… being treated like you’re special, for no good reason, from a young age, will skew your perception of the world.

All my best relationships, male and female, have been with people who grew up lower middle-class. The exceptions were financially comfortable but had to overcome significant emotional challenges growing up.

Pretty, gifted, athletic… from an early age… can make the rest of your life seem like a downer.

Don’t peak in high school.

How to spot a husband

Is he kind? Kindness takes time to develop in many people.

Will people work for him? You’ll be doing a lot of work together.

If people like working for him then you’re less likely to resent him. Female-to-male resentment is the #1 trait I come across in unhappy marriages.

A kind guy, that “people” enjoy working for.

You, and your kids, will become his people.

Good luck.

Home School Notes

Volcano Project nearly complete – if you look closely then you can see animals in the foothills, oblivious to the carnage to come.

Our youngest kids did a great job with their Science Fair project. The project is on a “tri-fold display board” made by Elmer’s.

Getting the electric motor project working for our oldest has been tougher. We got the rectangular homopolar motor to spin but have been struggling to get our “tiny dancer” to rotate.

We have a video clip that’s more impressive than this photo but I haven’t cracked the code on posting videos.

The first season of Colorado Classroom ended with 14 episodes. We’ve enjoyed the programming so started our 2nd Grader on the 3rd Grade lessons. She sits beside me and we do the class together. She’s a sweet kid and I enjoy our time together.

The Blue Gem of Mystery Island. A good coach can get you to do things you wouldn’t do on your own. Many thanks to Coach K, Axel’s English Tutor.

Got the COVID Blahs? Here’s a list of ideas to shake things up:

  • Field trip to a local volcano/park – Dinosaur Ridge is on my list for when we climb Mount Sherman
  • Trails/trees/nature
  • Bake a cake
  • Ice cream takeout 
  • Run through a sprinkler
  • Date night, in – Movie for the kids – last one we watched was Four Kids & It
  • Night walk – kids love anything in the dark
  • Train for something “scary” – our oldest has been doing NCAR hill repeats for an attempt to ride up Mount Evans, the top 14 miles is closed to cars this summer
  • Science Fair
  • Learn next year’s math – you can get it done in July/August
  • Write a book – this was my son’s June project with his English teacher – his younger sister will give it a shot in July
  • Need more ideas? Here’s a Google Doc shared by a master teacher.

If you’re caught in a rut then schedule a change.

To get myself to try something new, it helps if I fix a date, and a time, in my calendar.

I’m the rider-of-last-resort for my daughter and got the call yesterday. Se we headed up Flagstaff Mountain for an afternoon session. Lifetime personal best for a continuous climb and she did great.

Her pacing reminded me of a buddy in Utah (T.G.) – she took it out hard from the bridge then settled in.

I still laugh thinking about TG’s training camp many years ago. I’m on the far side of elite performance but he’s still crushing it.

About halfway up, that’s the 1st Flatiron dead ahead – our route curves around to the right

We can see these flags from our front door in BoCo. They must look a long way up to a kid.

Matching camo mask and shirt – pink & grey pedals paired with her Camelbak – high-end shorts courtesy of a very elite athlete – in endurance sport, some of the best are the size of boys and girls. We live at 5,500 ft.

In case you’re wondering, she didn’t climb with her mask but I was curious so rolled mine the entire time.

It was 90F in the shade. The mask starts to get challenging above 225w => fortunately, my ride buddy’s “age-grouper pacing” settled a half-mile after the bridge.