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I was going to call this one “It’s not fair” – except that it is.

The next working title was “It’s not right” – except that God is sovereign and good.

A friend of mine died Monday. Karen Tracy was about my age. I met her at Hands Against Hunger, and never saw her outside of that context, but we were friends.

She was in good health. She had volunteered at HAH on Thanksgiving morning, and helped decorate Christmas trees at her church on Sunday.

Monday morning, her brother found her body sitting in a chair in her apartment. No idea why she died, and it doesn’t matter.

I’m not arguing that God didn’t have the right to do anything He wanted with this part of His creation. He’s God. He owns everything, and He gets to do that. Six years ago, I died – no heartbeat, no respiration, no consciousness – and God brought me back to life. I appreciate it daily, but I didn’t have anything to do with it. All God.

It’s the case here, too. Karen is in Heaven. I don’t know if people in Heaven know about earth. I would imagine that all of our focus is going to be on worshipping God.

Holy, holy, holy

Is the Lord almighty

Who was, and is, and is to come

Second verse, same as the first. For eternity.

Intellectually, I get it, and I agree. Emotionally, I’m still struggling.

Job 13:15 says

Even though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him

Karen said that, in person, on Monday, and she believed it the day before. And it’s true.

So why do I feel bad? I’m mourning her loss, yes. She had a great attitude, a ready laugh, and a smile all the time. I’ll miss her presence.

I may be mourning my own impending death. “It is appointed unto man once to die” – that day is coming. No idea when, but both of my parents are still living, so possibly later rather than sooner.

And I think I’m mourning the loss of innocence that we had in the garden of Eden. No death there. Unsure if Adam and Eve would have had children, but if we were still there, I wouldn’t be writing this now.

Bottom line is that there is no bottom line. Not in a nihilistic way, but we aren’t promised all the answers here on earth. And I suspect that we won’t care in Heaven.

And God is good.

I did not see a hummingbird today.

I hope to see a hummer tomorrow.

I have dreams sometimes – nothing extraordinary, nothing prophetic.

Last night, though, I dreamed that Larry Niven (writing partner of Jerry Pournelle RIP) was visiting Bettie and I at her parent’s house. Not now, but the way it was back in the 80s.

Bettie, for some reason, needed some space on thumb drives, and was insistent that Larry give her some. I was trying to tell her that Larry Niven’s thumb drives have value above mere disk space, that I would give her my thumb drive but don’t format those!

Larry had tossed a couple thumb drives onto the coffee table (I heard them clatter) and then he said “the password is ‘McGarrity RabbitWhistle BugTussle'”.

Then he wanted me to book an appointment at an interesting fair in California for he and his wife Marilyn (they actually live there – she didn’t appear in the dream).

I was on the phone, he was messing with his phone (Android, in the dream).

Then I woke up, and really wanted to write down his password. Seemed important at the time.

I’m at my lowest weight since May of 2015.

I’m also sick, looking like a bad cold, so past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future returns.

A week ago, back when it was still summer, Bettie and I stood outside at 2AM and watched the Orionid meteor shower. We didn’t stay long, and it was chilly, but we each saw a couple shooting stars. Fun.

In the week before that, around the middle of October, I was still seeing lightning bugs. Not flying around, but resting on the ground. That’s the same way I saw them back in February, which was extraordinarily warm this year.

The two events aren’t related, not directly. One looking up, one looking down. One fast, one very slow. One cold (a dirty snowball, except for at the very end), one doing much better in the heat of high summer rather than either cooler end.

But they are connected. As James Herriot quoted, “The Lord God made them all“. I’m in that bucket, and so are you. We are all creatures, created beings, and we have a Creator. Rather, He has us. What is He going to do with us? It depends on what we do with Him.

I’ve seen a lot of death recently. A coworker’s husband lost both his mother and his father this year. Another coworker lost his teenage son unexpectedly. A third coworker died from cancer after winning a serious battle against another disease. One of Bettie’s former coworkers, younger than she was, died a week ago. The end of life came for each of them, and it’s coming for me. Not a dire announcement, just a recognition that we’re all going to die eventually.

And after that comes the judgment. We’ll be judged on how we lived our lives and spent the blessings we have been given. I have been very blessed, from my parents being who they are to growing up in a family of faith, from attending a church college to finding a wonderful wife, from losing my way to finding solid ground and a well-grounded church and pastor. And still, though I am not perfect, the blood of Jesus makes me so in the eyes of God the Father.

I don’t know what led you to this site. I encourage you to think about your past, and your future, and eternity. Pick up a Bible and read the book of Romans. Take your time, make the investment, decide what matters.

I did, and it has made all the difference. In the world and the next.

While I was growing up, I wanted to be a race car driver. I’d still like to do that, but the realistic option is gone. It was pretty well gone when I realized that race car driving was dangerous – I could get hurt!

Still, I like racing. Pretty much anything going fast, but focused mainly on NASCAR. My first hero was Richard Petty – the king. He won 200 races, finishing in front of President Ronald Reagan.

After he retired, I moved to supporting Darrell Waltrip, #17. He had a mouth, he had an attitude, and he had the championships to back it up.

When he retired, Tony Stewart moved into my top spot. He had a temper, he would sometimes sometimes cross the line, but he also had the skills to win championships.

Tony Stewart retired a year ago. For me, nobody has taken his place. Some don’t make the list – Logano and Keselowski, I’m looking at you. Jimmy Johnson – nice guy, but no passion from me (maybe because he exercises). The replacement in Tony’s car, Clint Boyer, doesn’t have a spark.

The racing itself has changed, with stages and weird end-of-race rules, not to mention artificial cautions to bunch the field up.

Bottom line, I’m done with NASCAR. it just isn’t worth the investment of my time. I’ll still watch a few races – Daytona to start the season, the World 600 as part of the Memorial Day triple header. The Indy 500 is the only Indy-car race I watch.

The first race in that triple header is the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco. It’s always been fun to watch, with the long underground chute leading into the blinding sunlight, the tight corners and the water right there!

This year, I watched that race with different eyes. I saw internal struggles, man against machine and man against man. The incredible power and incredible fragility of the cars. The money spent and the technology used.

And I started watching F1 races, enjoying them more than I expected. Even the practices are fun, with David Hobbs mentioning the occasional “argy-bargy” in his understated English way.

So in 2018, I’m dropping NASCAR and switching to F1. It isn’t necessarily permanent, but it will take a lot to turn me back.

Forty seven years ago today, a strange man who went by the name “Tiny Tim” was at the Clinton County fairgrounds in Plattsburgh, NY.

A wire report from the next day read

Tiny Tim Joins N. Y. Jaycee Unit

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. AP — Tiny Tim, the long haired, falsetto-voiced singing star, eagerly signed an application card for a local Jaycee unit Wednesday and was promptly accepted as a member. The performer was rehearsing for an appearance at the Clinton County fair when he was approached by several Jaycees who suggested he join the organization. “His wife filled out the card,” said Sgt. Gary Flaherty, an Army recruiter who is president of the local chapter, “and Tiny Tim signed it.”

I don’t remember whether I saw him – memory says yes, but memory is funny.

Documented from the August 6 papers here and here (lower right corner).  Unfortunately, I can’t find the text of the (almost) unreadable Press-Republican story online.

If you are using sharp kitchen tools – a mandolin, for instance – keep your fingers away from the sharp parts. Otherwise you can end up with a bandaid on your index finger.

Or so I’ve heard.

My other revelation from the evening is Lip Blam, useful for when you’re shooting your mouth off.

Sunday morning, January first 2017, started off foggy. 

That makes for a good year for headlight manufacturers and body shops – not for me, just in general. 

Sunday ended with me winning (through no fault of my own) a fantasy football league I didn’t want to join. 

Thanks, Mark

Monday morning, January second, starts out foggy again. I’d like to make a prediction about how this year is going to turn out, but the crystal ball is, predictably, foggy. 

When the nurse asks you which arm you want the tetanus shot in,  there are consequences when you sleep on your side. 

It all started innocently enough, just a regular day-after-Christmas organ delivery. While releasing a tie-down, I got a scrape that needed to be band-aided. My last tetanus shot was about 8 and a half years ago, so it was time. 

Show up at the doctor’s office at my scheduled time (missing work), and they tell me I can’t do it because I haven’t seen the doctor in over 6 months. Wish they would have known that when I made the appointment. I do mention in passing that I could get it at an urgent care place without having seen their doctor, but to no avail. 

The Little Clinic at Kroger filled the bill (with an upsell to include diptheria and pertussis – whooping cough). No reaction, so all is well. 

It could have been weller had they mentioned that if I was a side sleeper, I should get the shot on the ceiling-facing shoulder to avoid a few nights’ discomfort. They didn’t, and I didn’t think of it.

All is well. Still,  note to self . . .