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And I'll Never Have That Recipe Again

A Testament

I wouldn’t say my mother was a natural cook, but she was willing to try anything that struck her fancy. While building her repertoire, she used an old typewriter to commit her favorites to index cards that she stored in a hinged wooden recipe box.

Over the years, I sifted through her recipe box countless times, looking for her instructions for sour cream cookies or nisu bread or the family’s traditional spaghetti sauce.

After she died—a year ago today—my brother and I sifted through her belongings, finding homes for all the things she left behind.

Naturally, I went through that recipe box, intent on preserving everything I wanted before passing it on to other family members.

At the back of the box, hidden behind everything else, was another unremarkable index card, yellowed with age li »more

A Testament

A Testament

Hand-typed excerpt from William Wetmore Story's poem "A Testament", found on an index card in my deceased mother's
recipe box.

The Ghost of Munny Present

Money Quote

My previous post, The Ghost of Munny Past, covered some of my pre-2015 experiences with money and investing. Here we get caught up to present-day with a few more recent adventures.

At the start of 2015, most of my net worth was tied up in my Back Bay condo, which had originally been purchased with proceeds from the Sapient stock I’d acquired as an early employee.

At the end of 2015, I moved to Pittsburgh, which meant putting the condo on the market: my first home sale. Fortunately, despite needing renovation, it sold promptly on Leap Day 2016, for a reasonable “profit”. I use the word “profit” advisedly, given the things I said about mortgages in my previous post. Still, investing the proceeds from my condo sale has been one of my biggest preoccupations for the past year.

Cash: I Has »more

The Ghost of Munny Past

True Money Stories

It’ll surprise those of you who know me best, but aside from my 2016 mention of my condo sale, I haven’t posted about money at all in four or five years, mostly because “people get funny when you talk about munny…”

But since money is one of my six necessities for happiness, and because things are afoot in that department, I’m going to correct that with a two-part look at money and investing. This first part will be a retrospective covering the 25-year period from 1990 to 2015, and a followup post will discuss more recent developments since moving to Pittsburgh.

The Windfall

The event that kickstarted my savings was, of course, working at Sapient. I joined a startup of 120 people, and during the dot-com boom we grew to over 3,600 staff, went public in an IPO, and were added to the pre »more

2017: Ornoth of the Hill People

Team Decaf group ride at the Point

My second year riding in Pittsburgh somehow felt both pleasantly normal as well as superlative and memorable in so many ways. Overall, I rode a ton, befriended some good folks, grew more familiar with my new hometown, set some new records, met all my goals, vanquished Pittsburgh’s hardest challenge, and had a blast doing so. Here’s my year in review…

Team Decaf group ride at the Point, with Ornoth back center

Ornoth crushing a hill on the Escape to the Lake MS ride

Ornoth & Monica finishing the Pittsburgh Randonneurs' 100k populaire

Ornoth leading a pack through the city during PedalPGH

Ornoth descending Dirty Dozen Hill 6 (Rialto) from the neighborhood of Troy Hill.

Video of Ornoth (in black) amongst a group of Dirty Dozen riders (around 3:02) to the top of Suffolk S »more

Ascending to 250,000 Feet

2017 climbing chart

I really don’t know what I was thinking.

Last year’s end-of-year summary included a chart of how much climbing I’d done over each of the past seven years, because after climbing 87,000 to 120,000 feet per year in Boston, my first year in Pittsburgh had tallied a record 190,000 feet. But having been forced to stop riding at the end of September, I added: “If I had ridden at the same pace for the last three months of 2016 I would have broken a quarter million feet.

You can see where this is headed, then? A quarter million feet of climbing in one year. That’s double or triple the climbing I’d done back in Boston. 76 vertical kilometers. Imagine climbing a mountain that stands 47 miles tall. That’s nearly nine times the height of Mt. Everest… Or a third of the way to Skylab’s orbital altitu »more

Tack O'Rammach

My first Tag-o-Rama find: Aspinwall Waterfront Park playground sculpture

I ha’ent writ much about the BikePGH forum’s Tag-o-Rama game since my first tag pickup two years ago. I’ve meant to get caught up and share the tags I’ve found and set, but figured I’d wait and post an end-of-year summary.

To review the rules: the person who is “It” sets a “tag” by biking somewhere interesting, taking a photo of the location with their bike in it, and posting the picture on the forum. Then the other players race to figure out where that location is, get there by bike, take a similar picture with their bike in it, and post that. Whoever posts first becomes “It” and can set the next tag location.

It might be easier to explain by seeing it in action, so here’s a link to the start of the 2017 Tag-o-Rama thread.

I started out slowly back in 2016, only chasing down four tags. »more

1-Minute Dirty Dozen

I've posted one-minute hyperlapse videos of the five hardest hills in the Dirty Dozen, compiled from my on-bike action cam footage, so here’s a quick and painless run-thru if you’re interested in seeing how it went.

Or rather, it would be painless, except for the usual nausea-inducing camera shake associated with action cams. The hyperlapse helps, but only so much.

Also bear in mind that since the camera was mounted to my bike at a fixed angle, even steep hills appear flat because the bike—and thus the camera—are both tilted up at the same angle. The best way to judge the incline is by features at the sides of the road. And by other riders weaving back and forth, falling off their bikes, and walking…

1-Minute Dirty Dozen: Logan (4x)

1-Minute Dirty Dozen: Suffolk (6x)

1-Minute Dirty Do »more