Henry David Thoreau has many classic quotes about seeking the simple life. ‘Unsubscribe’ is the modern day call to simplify. Some may see a subscription as unfettered access whenever desired but others may see a subscription as an obligation – an obligation to get your money’s worth, an obligation to consume everything in one sitting so you don’t have to pay the subscription the next month. As soon as we are obligated to our entertainment, we have lost.

Taking out your regular bills like a mortgage, car payments, student loans, insurance, and utilities including cell phone and Internet bills, there are still tons of services clamoring for you to subscribe. Taking each of these monthly costs and multiplying it by 12 to get your annual cost and then summing them together can show they can add up quite quickly.


Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud


Xbox Live, PSN


Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, MLB Nation, Center Ice, NFL Sunday Ticket, Crunchyroll

Paid TV cable/satellite


Audible audiobooks

Pandora, Spotify



Do you have subscriptions you’re still paying but aren’t using?

Stupid things people say to somebody walking or running with their dog

Walking or running with a dog, you might get to enjoy all sorts of commentary from good-meaning people that becomes tedious, repeated, and annoying.


Out of breath after a long run:

Who’s walking who?

Shouldn’t it be ‘whom’?

While running past:

What’s the big rush?

Running 3+ miles will do that, try it sometime:

Boy, somebody’s panting hard.

With the dog pulling at the leash, probably because of said commentator:

Is that leash strong enough?

I’m not a ‘dog person’, I’m a ‘my dog person’:

Oh, you’re a dog person?

Just sign this waiver:

Can I (or my kids) pet your dog?

You also sign this waiver:

Is it ok if our dogs meet?

Does it matter?

Is it a boy or a girl dog?

And what ethnicity are you?

What breed of dog is it?

Is it because you’re lazy?

I wish I could have you walk my dog.

Activity with my dog is because I care about her. Do you care about your dog?

Coming from a random stranger, your tip carries a lot of weight:

Have you tried [random one-size-fits-all suggestion]?

Jonathan’s Bread Story

This is titled Jonathan’s Bread Story because my brother-in-law told Jeanne and I this story. It’s bounced around in my head since then.

An old man and old woman have been married for forty years.They love each other in every way. The years have been kind to them and they are generally happy.

Throughout their marriage, the man had always given his wife the heel of every bread loaf. Whether it was a sandwich, garlic bread, or just bread fresh from the oven, she always got the heel.

“Why can’t I ever have the soft middle of the bread?” she’d stew. “Why does he always keep the best part for himself?”

After 40 years, one day she couldn’t stand it any more. As he served her a sandwich made from store-bought bread, there was the heel as the top of her sandwich.

“Why do you always do this?” she cried. “I hate the heel. I like the soft part! I’ve only eaten it all these years to make you happy. Why can’t you ever take the heel to show you love me?!”

“I’ve always given it to you,” the man said softly, “because it’s my favorite part.”

Communication goes a long way. 40 years of tolerating could have been 40 years of happiness on both parts.

I also enjoy the added level of humor if this story were told as part of a toast.

The Unvacation

Are you familiar with the Unvacation? It’s the opposite of a vacation. There’s more stress and longer hours – the complete opposite of what a vacation is supposed to do. Usually it comes as the result of somebody else going on a vacation.

In a few weeks, I’ll be in an unvacation as my manager takes a week off. Whenever he’s gone, it seems I get to field a lot of the questions from my co-workers and pick up anything that would have fallen between the cracks with him gone. It’s a busy time that just seems to fly by.

I have been on an unvacation for the past few weeks as my wife has been gone. All of the household responsibilities, pet responsibilities, bills, etc have fallen on me. Normally, I wouldn’t think it would have been as bad as it has been. So far, a tree fell down and knocked out the TV satellite dish (now fixed), the dog figured out how to open the gate and got out briefly (but I chased her and she returned home moments later), I somehow and somewhere got into poison ivy (which has spread from my legs to my face and some spots on my arms) , I was tired most of the time, my whole body was sore (arms were sore from chopping down trees and my legs were sore from some pretty good paced runs), and all-in-all I’ve been pretty much a mess. Thankfully, I go pick her up from the airport today and I know a lot of that stress will just melt away seeing her again.

I don’t know if I would have counted on me to pick them up from the airport. I’m not sure I would have put money on me surviving while she was gone.

Flashbacks to being alone

During one of the Summers in the college years, I lived with my sister and brother-in-law  in the same town as the university. They went on a multi-week trip to Europe and I stayed behind watching the house and taking classes. I was taking the maximum 3 classes at the University and took 2 additional classes at the local community college. While they were gone, all of my classes seemed to peak at the same time.

I remember all the major projects across classes seemed to come due on Thursdays. I would be up the night before working until 4 am just to wake up at 6am. From there, I had class at the community college from 7-9:50. I would then drive the 15 minute drive to the University in 10 minutes and be in class from 10-11:50. After class got out, I would eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as I walked from class to the Library. I would then work my undergrad tech job from noon-5:00. After work, I would head home and begin working on the next assignments with a break for dinner.

Honestly, I don’t know where the time went while my sister and brother-in-law were gone. It seemed like just a few days passed and they were back. I was so buried in work, I hardly noticed the passage of time. I traded in sleep and fun in order to meet my school responsibilities while working to earn enough for my bills for the upcoming semester.

I am currently in the middle of another solo time as Jeanne is off on a multi-week trip. Fortunately, I have a little less work going on at the moment now that I have finished up graduate classes. Spades also helps regulate the time with daily runs and her own schedule to keep track of. The time is still going by rather quickly (thankfully) but I feel like I’m making the most of the time instead of just blinking and seeing it fly by.