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Leaving livejournal, moving to blogspot..

I haven't been very good at keeping up these pages, but I would like to re-establish my journal. I am having a lot of trouble with the new Livejournal interface. I am unable to see any formatting tools - no way to input links, photos, change fonts, embed video. I don't know if it's because I am not a paying member or not.

Anyway, I am moving this journal to gyr8or.blogspot.com.

I am on facebook with Neil B and Jeffrey K, if you're interested in keeping up through facebook, hit me up, I am Clark Chesser.



Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas all!

Christmas eve was lovely, the whole day. I worked from the house until about 2pm. M ran some errands. At about 1pm this kid across the street played Christmas carols on his clarinet in his driveway, and he took donations for a local charity. It was really sweet, we've watched this kid grow up, because we moved into our house before he was born. We had a quick dinner of spaghetti then headed to church at 6:45pm for the Christmas eve service. The service was really nice. It lasted about an hour, there was beautiful music, a great message --- all in all an inspiring service.

Afterwards we went to a great Christmas eve party at our neighbor's Bobbi and Jeff's house. There were about 15 people there, we ended up staying until nearly 11pm!! We had a great time. They had awesome food and great conversation and wine.

M and I had a subdued Christmas Day. We didn't really exchange much in the way of presents...I did a "Santa Run" to our local BJs Wholesale and picked up a DVD of "Monsters University" for us, the new John Grisham novel for him, and a cookbook by Ina Garten for me...then I wrapped them and put them under the tree so it wouldn't look so bare. We do so much during the year with and for each other that Christmas has always seem superfluous. I am blessed and I realize it.

We went over and had Christmas Day dinner over at M's sister's house in the outer darkness 'burbs. K's hubby, Berwyn, was in a Christmas funk, worse than last year. His hobby is toy trains (though he would probably take offense to the noun 'toy'), and he had set up this elaborate Christmas Village in their foyer complete with a train track, small town and suburb of houses. It's about 20 feet long and 6 feet wide at it's widest. We were "oohing" and "ahhing" when he turned it on, but Berwyn was saying that it was all wrong and that he was going to have to throw most of it away and start over...I have learned from know him for nearly 20 years, that he's mostly talk, so he probably will not do this, but it is an insight into his nihilism for him to say this about his 'baby'. My lay-psychotherapist opinion is that he's moderately depressed, but what do I know.

They live his one of these really large exurban homes, they bought it new in 2004, and according to them, the mortgage is currently "underwater" (they owe more on the mortgage than it's worth if they were to sell). I believe they paid somewhere between $700-$750K on this behemoth. It's probably about 4-5K sq feet. It was positively gloomy in the house, they have these light diffusing shades on the main living area, so you can't see outside, which sort of bothers me. Besides the amazing Christmas Village in the foyer, the only other decoration was the 10 foot tree, that was almost dwarfed in the soaring 25 ft den. M's mother, Ann, says the tree is all Berwyn, he selected the tree and all the ornaments and lights. It looks like one you'd see in a department store, all done up in reds and golds. Pretty, but lacks personality.

M's sister K, had prepared a wonderful ham, a broccoli casserole, a very sweet sweet potato casserole, a congealed salad called "pretzel salad" that is sort of more a dessert than a side dish (it's one of M's family traditions, so it's special to them), something called "Frogs-Eye salad" which is another cold, sweet thing that I have never really liked. I brought these yeast rolls that they like a lot and a pecan pie. Ann said that K cooked all day Christmas eve. It was a nice Christmas spread...though a bit Carb heavy.

Conversation was really forced and boring. Berwyn was in a broody mood, M's niece A, was not feeling well and I think was suffering from "Medicine Head". M's other niece J, was subdued.

[NIECE UPDATE: J graduated from Christopher Newport U in Newport News, VA, in May with a degree in Drama and Musical Theater. She never was cast in a school play or musical, which was unfortunate. We've seen her in a several things through the years, and she's really uncomfortable on stage, and the one time I heard her sing, she's got a sweet soft soprano, but not a leading lady voice. Her parents said they urged her to change / rethink her major in her Sophomore year, but she didn't. Her parents trash-talk Christopher Newport U, and M and I feel, discount J's degree by default...they feel like CNU took their $$$ but didn't sufficiently guide J. That may be true, but the school did have some benchmarks that J missed, and had to get waivers for (she got school credit for a roles she got in a local community theater productions of "Annie" and "The Sound of Music"). Anyway, she graduated so let's all move on. She got a decent job at HP (where her Mom works), as a Business Analyst, it's tedious work but it's a job, which a lot of people have not been able to get right out of college.

Niece, A, graduated from HS this year and was admitted to George Mason University. She's doing really well! She's lost some weight and she is really engaged by her curriculum. Yay! Her degree is in Sports marketing or somehting like that, and she seems to be really excited by it. She even had interest from the opposite sex!! A boy sent her flowers! Yay, A!!]

Anyway, the meal was like walking on eggshells around Berwyn, then it was over, no one lingered afterward. Berwyn went back to his office and closed the door (internet pron, no doubt!). We all crashed in front of the huge TV in the den and A insisted on playing this awful and confusing animated film called "The Rise of the Guardians". I slept through a lot of the early parts of it, M dozed off too. In the past we've taken walks, but no one wanted to do it yesterday, they felt like it was too cold (it was in the 30s and sunny). The house seemed oppressive to me, there weren't enough lights on and those shades made it seem too dark... an Addam's family Christmas!

We had dessert at about 4pm, K, took a plate into Berwyn's office but he didn't emerge. We left around 5pm and took Ann with us, she'll be with us until Saturday. She was absolutely in "Chatty-Cathy" mode last night, it was non-stop, we got the feeling she really needed to unload after 6 days with Berwyn.

I am at work today, and I am not sure what M has planned for Ann today.


what's wrong with LJ?

I don't see any of the editing tools on this page. I think I am going to move this journal back to blogspot, it's less hinky.


sort of busy week, then chaos

I am still a little hazy on details, but my Mom, Dad and brother/nephew are descending on me and M this coming Friday.  I think they will be staying a little over 2 weeks.

I am really looking forward to their visit.  Having Goose here will  be different.  Mom and Dad have been coming for Thanksgiving for nearly a decade.  My Dad retired and sold his practice last year, and they were able to come up for a longer visit.  They are saying until the 7th of December, because the Harmonizers have their Holiday Dinner theater on the 6th and 7th, and they will all be going for that.  They really enjoyed it last year.

Thanksgiving we'll be 8, with Mo, Daveed, Daveed's Mother Maryanna, and the 5 of us.  It should be a grand day.  This will be the longest I've spent with Goose in years, I hope we don't bore him to death.

I haven't mentioned his journey I don't think.  Goose received a PhD from Ole Miss in Biology in 2010.  He decided that his 'call' was to be a medical doctor and applied and was accepted to the University of South Alabama in Mobile (my brother Keephers went there). He's now in his 4th year, and casting about for Pathology residency programs.  He's interviewed at Georgetown, and Emory and several other schools and while he's up here he's interviewing at VCU in Richmond (that's tomorrow), George Washington University, Johns Hopkins, and at some point week after next he's traveling to Boston and interviewing at Harvard and Dartmouth...yeah, he's kind of a big deal.  I feel like a total slack-bag next to him!  LOL

I'll post more later.

S'all for now

finished 3rd Half Marathon last weekend

This was a great weekend, unfortunately M and I barely spent any time together.  I had entered the Richmond Anthem Half Marathon that ran this last weekend, several months ago.  My friend and our pastor, Dee, ran at the same time, this is our 3rd to run.  We don't run them 'together', as Dee is MUCH faster than me.

Dee's wife, St. Cheryl of Shirlington, made reservations through a site called airbnb for a 3 bedroom house near the race route,

D_and_C_after_race(<---Me and Dee after the race)

however, on last Sunday St Cheryl received and email informing us that the homeowner had sold the property and it was no longer available. Really? A week before hand you tell us this?  St. Cheryl sent a carefully worded Nasty-gram to AIRBNB, and got her transaction fee back.  She threw a shout-out on facebook, saying we were in need of a place to crash for the Richmond half, and needed lodgings for 4 people (Moi, Dee, St. Cheryl and their sullen 14-y-o daughter Wednesday[I used to call her something else, but henceforth she will be Wednesday, as in Addams]).

A newly wed couple named Matt and Carmen, who's ceremony Dee and St Cheryl read scripture at, piped up and said they'd be happy to have us.  They were really sweet.  Carmen is an Episcopal pastor, and Matt has about 3 jobs that have something to do with various music programs.  They live in a house that was very convenient to the race route.  Matt has multiple food alergies, so I found a recipe for a gluten and dairy free pear / cranberry crisp (the original recipe was an apple/cranberry crisp, but the poor guy is allergic to apples).  St. Cheryl brought pizza dough and we baked 2 big pizzas for them.  One was half pepperoni half cheese, and the other was made with eggplant, feta, olives and tomato sauce.  We had a lovely evening.

Saturday morning I woke up at 4:30am and couldn't do more than catnap after that.  I finally got up a little before 6am.  Matt had made coffee for me and Dee, which was sweet, because he doesn't drink it.  Our start time was 7:30am and we headed downtown at a little before 7am.

The race was huge (over 13K participants) and extremely well organized, from the same start point they ran an 8K at 7am, the half marthon at 7:30am, and the full marathon at 8am.  we started in waves that proceeded in 3 minute gaps between waves, so we didn't run over each other...I was in "wave G", Dee was in "wave E"  based on our estimated finish times [ Dee estimated he'd run it close to 2 hours, I estimated close to 2 1/2 hours].  It was raining and cool when we started but it stopped raining about 45 minutes after I started, though once you got running after the first 2 miles or so it didn't really matter, you were warmed up and moving.  The course was fairly flat, which was great!

Dee finished at 1 hour 57 minutes, and I finished at 2 hours 18 minutes, which is about the same as I did at the Half I ran in April, Dee's was a little better than he did then, but he'd trained more extensively than I did.

When we got back to Matt and Carmen's, Matt had made a vegetarian soup with kale, parsnips, potatoes and onions.  Cheryl had baked the leftover pizza dough into a baguette, so it was a perfect post race meail

We headed back to DC and got back around 3pm.  M was still at "Urinetown" practice, they ran the whole play so it took a while.  He and I had a nice dinner of ham steak, spinach and rice.  I made him a Cosmo cocktail, I had the first beer (or alcohol) I have had in 3 weeks, I wanted to see what it did to my blood sugar on Sunday morning, and luckily it didn't have an affect, fasting blood glucose was in the normal range. I've decided that when I have alcohol, it should be a single serving followed by or accompanying food.  It's been a learning process.

M left for Philly yesterday afternoon, and I hung out with St Cheryl.  We attended a play that a mutual friend of ours was doing the lighting for in DC at the Metropolitan Methodist Church, next to American University.  It was "To Kill A Mockingbird". They did a pretty good job for a small church sponsored production.  Our friend was really jazzed that we'd come, so we were happy to support.

I made a spaghetti sauce and put it in a crockpot at St Cheryl's house, we went back to their house and had dinner.  I left around 7pm and headed back to our empty house.  I watch Amazing Race and the Good Wife and went to bed.

S'all for now.


nutty week

This has been a cray-cray week starting this weekend. Saturday and Sunday were super busy, enjoyable, but super busy. I had Monday off for Veterans Day for the first time since I was in the Army. My company changed our vacation policy and eliminated our 2 floating holidays, and 2 paid-holidays (the day after Christmas and Thanksgiving), then added 4 paid holidays (MLK Jr Day, Presidents Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day).

I raked leaves on Veterans Day. Mike has been so super busy with his play and work that he hasn't been able to work in the yard in months, so it's on me. I found it cathartic.

My mom and dad are coming for the Thanksgiving holidays and I haven't done the first thing yet. As usual, the holidays are barreling at me full-throttle and am caught deer-like in it's head lamps. My brother/nephew will be traveling with them this time. Goose is in his last year of med school and has interviews set up for a pathology residency he's applying for. He has interviews set up at GW University & Johns Hopkins. He's traveling to Massachusetts and interviewing at Harvard then Dartmouth. I wish him all the luck.

It will be an interesting holiday. I am really looking forward to seeing Mom, Dad and Goose.

S'all for now,


great weekend

I had a fantastic weekend.

Friday night M and I saw a 'world premier' musical by Signature Theater long-time contributor Matt Connor called "the Crossing", before hand we tried a new Vietnamese restaurant in Shirlington, that neither of us were wild about (there's so much great Vietnamese food in this area, that there's no reason to go back to a place that's just 'meh'). The musical was kind of 'meh' too. Matt, bless is heart, needs a lyricist/book writer. This is the 3rd production he's staged at Signature in the last 10 years or so, and while he's grown a lot as a lyricist, he's not Sondheim. This one was a 90-minute piece about a mystical train station where people from about 110 years of American history were waiting for their train to come, it was very navel-gazy, and at about the 40 minute mark I was ready for the train to just frickin arrive.

I am not drinking right now. I learned at my last checkup, that my pre-diabetic condition that was diagnosed back in the mid-00s has progressed to the point that I am nearly Type 2. My doc said I needed to change my diet, the easiest thing to do is to give up alcohol. This was about 3 weeks ago, so its still pretty new. For about the last two years, I think there's been a psychological, if not physical reliance on alcohol with me. Its not out of control, but it borders on it. It's best to do without now. It's easier to take, know that drinking has a concrete and measurable effect on my overall health.

Mike was cast as Caldwell B. Cladwell in a community theater production of "Urinetown". The play will run for 8 performances during the month of January, so he's going to be in rehearsals for much of the holidays. I am happy for him but irritated with the timing, but that's show biz.

This Sunday we had a concert at our church in support of a group called POFEV, People of Faith, Equality Virginia. St. Cheryl of Shirlington and I got together on Saturday at our house, and after a trip to BJ's Wholesale Club, put together a spread of h'ors derves and cookies. I made a stew, and had Pastor DEE and their daughter, Hannah, over for dinner. She and I cooked nearly all day from about 11am (after we got back from BJs), until nearly 4:30pm, then we ran over to her house got the key to the church from DEE, and dropped it all off in the church kitchen. It was a fun day, for us! Dinner was fun too, DEE brought his guitar, and we tried to sing a few songs.

The POFEV concert went well. About 90 people showed up and they raised about $4K for the cause. The reception afterward was really nice. People raved about the food, and most of it was eaten!

Yesterday was Veterans Day, and I got the holiday off for the first time since I was in the Army, hundreds of years ago. I raked leaves and did some yard clean up, so it was a productive day. M worked so I only saw him in the morning, and when he came home for dinner then off to rehearsals.

That's all I got now..



It's interesting how easy it is to get out of the habit of coming to this page and pouring out the thoughts in your head.

It's been a good year so for the most part:

My Dad had his second knee replaced in early March. I went down to Tuscaloosa and stayed with Mom over a long weekend while my dad was in the Rehab hospital.  He was in a better headspace this time than last time he had the other knee replaced in 2009.  He was very motivated to recuperate this time, and I think last time he was discouraged at how long the process took.  He knew what he was in for this time, so it wasn't as depressing for him.

In April we went to Nags Head with our pastor, Pastor DEE and his lovely wife, St. Cheryl of Shirlington for the Flying Pirate 1/2 Marathon. I finished in 2 hours 19 minutes, which isn't going to break any records but was pretty good for me.  Pastor DEE finished at a little over the 2 hour mark.  Both of us finished with better times than last year. It was a lovely weekend, the weather was perfect and the place we stay is really nice, it;s at the narrowest part of the Carrituck Sound, and the townhouse as a view of the Sound on one side and the Atlantic on the other side.  It's not the nicest digs, but the view is stellar.

More in a bit...

back again

Clark_Appln_Trail[me two weeks ago on the Appalachian trail]
Hey, I am back again.  I have been lurking for a while, reading guiser1, mrdreamjeans, and dendren.  It's been a good year so far, with some recent dramz that I should go into here.  More later.

Hey, I have noticed that I can't view any of your comments. They seem to be hidden, is it part of the paywall or something?


Silver Lake

Silver Lake by ClarkC_99_98
Silver Lake, a photo by ClarkC_99_98 on Flickr.

Pictures that I took, on the morning of Sunday, February 17th, after a light snowfall and ice storm at Rehoboth Beach, DE.

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