Caspar World

Posts from Home in Potsdam, NY


My grandfather brought a violin back from England when he came home from the Army Air Force at the end of World War 2. Nobody knows exactly where he found it or why he picked it up. He never played the violin.

I started taking violin lessons when I was in kindergarten or maybe 1st grade. Grampa's violin came to live at our house and my dad started taking lessons with us, and he played it. By the time I got big enough to play a full size violin, I'd long given up lessons, but every once in a while got it out of the box, just to try it out. It's been in storeage ever since.

A few weeks ago, when...

Nov 10, 2018

The Death of Coleus

Earlier this fall, on a whim, I bought a coleus plant. It was out there with the mums and whatnot. I thought the color of the leaves would go well with the rug in my office. (That rug ties the room together.)

Alas, poor Coleus!

The tag that came with it said, "shade to part sun". So I put it on the dresser away from the direct sunlight of the windows.

All went well for a week. Then it started losing leaves.

I looked up, "coleus losing leaves". Google said "coleus is a very easy-to-care-for plant". It went on: losing leaves is usually because it's not getting enough light. It said that it coleus in pots should b...

Nov 03, 2018


I started the week with several meetings with website clients. In this business, it seems everything is quiet for a long while, then suddenly everyone wants something at the same time. Mid-week, another client started the day with a request that he represented as urgent and necessary. It had to do with configuring some content on new website software his company had bought (not on my recommendation). After spending the whole day on the project, he decided just before quitting time that the project was a "huge waste of time", and never mind.

Meanwhile, this week, I started in learning some new ...

Oct 20, 2018

What to Do with Extra Tacos

It's been the week of the cold that wouldn't quit. I thought I was getting over it the end of last week, but it's still hanging on, mostly as what seems like a permanent low-grade sinus clog. (That's probably more than anyone wanted to know.)

Accordingly, I've kept a low profile. There were a couple church meetings in Norwood, and a couple on-line meetings around 2 different websites that are in development.

On Thursday we were scheduled to have college kids from church come for dinner. 5 had said they'd probably come, and 3 RSVPd that they were definitely coming. We got together all the fixin...

Oct 13, 2018

The Big 5 - O

So Tuesday I hit the big 5-O.

For my birthday I got a set of Men's fragrance, Calvin Clein Eternity from my sister-in-law, and silk pajamas from Brooke. I spent the morning programming a website, then spent most of the afternoon standing around in the rain at a Cross Country meet. The kid beat his personal best time for the 3 mile course by nearly a minute. We went to dinner down the street at Maxfield's.

Wednesday morning I woke up with a cold. Not the worst cold I've ever had, but runny nose and scratchy throat. Then, on Thursday morning I realized I now qualify for membership in the AARP. S...

Oct 06, 2018

Diet and Exercise

The Potsdam Church ladies did have sausage links at their pancake breakfast last week.

Over the past 3 weeks or so, I've been experimenting with food and exercise. I've never been much for minding either of these things before now. And, while it might have to do with my impending 50th birthday, I came to it by way of one-book-leads-to-another.

More than a year ago I'd seen several references to Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow. Kahneman had won a Nobel prize in Economics a while ago, and this was his latest, a kind of validictory of things he'd learned during and after the research he...

Sep 29, 2018

Hot and Cold

This week has been as variable as the weather: hot one day, cold the next.

First, I got to be a domain broker for a week.

I also got to wear my Cross Country parent hat on Tuesday. The kid ran a good race. Not quite enough to beat his personal best, but came close, and it was a hard course.

Silas finishes cross country race in Gouverneur

Also on Tuesday, I launched a new website. The design is another from Kelly's team at (Digital Canvas). It's for a Stark County, OH non-profit that recently took over a lot of county services for people with disabilities: TWi. There will be more to add to it in coming months, but getting a new site off the...

Sep 22, 2018

Quiet Time

One week into school, when I ask the kid what happened, he says, "The usual."

So I asked him if he learned anything. He thought about it for a moment, then said, "Not that I can remember."

I'd suspect that he wasn't actually going, but they'd probably call and ask where he was if that were the case.

With the return to school, there's more quiet time at home. I've been reading more. Nassim Talib, The Black Swan and now Atul Gawande, Being Mortal. Both good reads. Since the beginning of the year I've been keeping a reading list with short commentaries on my other blog.

Besides reading, I've been...

Sep 15, 2018

High School

It's official: High School.

First Day of High School, 2018

For comparison, here's 9 years ago on the first day of Kindergarten:

First Day of Kindergarten

On Thursday, he ran his first Cross Country race. 3 miles. Here he is, crossing the finish line:

Cross Country Finish

Sep 08, 2018

Back from Retirement

Since the beginning of the year, I've been filling in on Sundays at two churches in Norwood, a village 6 miles north of Potsdam. The Methodist church and the Congregational church have been worshiping together for the past 4 years, alternating between their 2 buildings month by month. They're both small churches, and finding one person to fill in on any given week is hard. Finding 2 is nearly impossible.

We have experienced this first hand. There have been 2 Sundays we would have liked to be away, but finding 2 people to fill in, one for Brooke in Potsdam and another for me in Norwood, has not...

Sep 01, 2018