Saki with cat, September 2, 2006



Friends Page

Last updated July 13, 2019



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Friends | True Friendship | Friends in California

You can't choose your relatives but you can choose your friends, so choose rich I've heard.  Mine may not be rich but at least they're good friends...and that's good enough for me. This page is dedicated to my friends, both past and present, and well as close acquaintances. I may have lost contact with some and annoyed a few others, but each holds a special place in my heart...regardless of what they think of me.

There are special qualities I look for in friends. First and foremost is a positive attitude. Negative people aren't fun to be around. They'll pull you down with them. Life is too short to bitch about the little things or things that can't be changed. I also like people who are reliable, take the time to answer e-mails or phone calls, know how to reciprocate, are a little silly, and who don't take themselves too seriously. Common interests are important too so it is no coincidence that so many of my friends have kayaks.

Good friends make you feel better about yourself. They lift your spirits and make shared experiences all the more enjoyable. Put simply, they make life worth the living.

At the top of the page is me with Peanut on September 2, 2006. Peanut is a stray cat taken in by good people.

On July 3, 2019, Norma brought home a 15 week old male kitten from a rescue shelter in La Plata, Maryland. They think he is a gray tabby with some calico. We considered various names: Quincy, Winston, Winslow. We went with Chester which Sara suggested. Chester is chatty, agile, and affectionate. He and Daphne play well together.
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It isn't easy being Norma's and my dog. In one week, Daphne went from the snow of western Maryland to the beach in Delaware to see the Atlantic Ocean. In between she walked in the urban jungle of Washington D.C. where she found a dead rat. So much to see and do. But she's quite content to just lie on our bed once in awhile and relax. That's exactly what she's doing in the first photo, taken on February 24, 2018.

In the second photo, taken on April 7, 2018, she's posing next to her Mini Me statue.

On April 28, 2018, we had several guests over. Sometimes Daphne gets a little overwhelmed when there are too many people around (especially children) and she then looks for shelter amongst familiar faces. See third photo.

On April 30, 2018, Daphne completed her Puppy Basic Obedience (C-280) class through the Canine Training Association (CTA). See fourth photo. This was comprised of ten classes that took place weekly. She never missed a class (thanks to Norma) and despite being one of the younger students (just over three months old at the start of class), she managed to take second place in the final exam (fifth photo)! We were quite proud of her. There were about 28 dogs at the start of class but by the end, there were only 10 on the last day. Daphne's attention span fluctuates quite a bit so that day, we made sure to take her out hiking, bicycling, and socializing with her good friend Cassi (Sara and Samantha's dog) prior to the test.

On August 19, 2018, we took Daphne to meet her father, Finn. See sixth photo.

There's more information about Daphne at January 10, 2018 and January 20, 2018.
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I've known Rey since about 2011. He is one of the funniest people I know and he is also a great father.

Rey and his kids joined several of us for a family friendly car camping event at Westmoreland State Park on June 17-19, 2016. The photo at left shows him enjoying a fine hot dog meal.
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Sue M.
I have known Sue since about 2004. We met through the Howard County Sierra Club. She is a dedicated environmentalist who loves the outdoors and nature every bit as much as Norma and I.

In the above photo, taken September 16, 2006, she is leading an International Coastal Cleanup Day event at Terrapin Nature Area on Kent Island. Sue is on the right wearing sunglasses. Can you recognize anyone else in this photo besides me?

On March 14-15, 2015, Norma and I joined Sue on the Delaware Owl Chase weekend.
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Dennis W.
Dr. Dennis W. was my 12th grade English teacher. We kept in touch through the years. On March 31, 2015, we met at Hoppy Brewing Company in Sacramento. Prior to this, I don't think we saw each other since somewhere between 1992 and 1995. I can't say he taught me to love books (nobody has taught me that yet) but he did teach me to appreciate some of the deep messages that writers often try to convey through their books.
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Norma's family
Norma's family is my family just as my family is hers. But I also feel a certain friendship with each of them. Thus, I include them on this page.

The first photo was taken on December 26, 2014 at Scott and Laah's house. In the back from left to right are Hazel (Norma's mother), me, Scott (Laah's husband) who is holding Alisha (Joyce and Jimmy's foster child), and Jimmy (Joyce's husband). In the front are Laah (Norma's sister) who is holding Hunter (her son), Joyce (Norma's sister), and Norma who is holding Harlem (Jimmy and Joyce's daughter). The numerous deer heads and antlers on the wall are a result of Scott's fine hunting skills.

The second photo was taken December 22, 2018. Over four years, a few new faces were added. Additions include Daphne (the dog), Alisha in pink next to Daphne, and Kendall (blue shirt). Daphne is mine and Norma's. Alisha is Jimmy and Joyce's. Kendall is Scott and Laah's. I felt this was one of our better Christmases, even though we celebrated it a little early. We had a nice turkey dinner, opened gifts, sang carols, did some sledding, and had a good old-fashioned snowball fight.
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Molly holding chicken

Most of my friends are kayakers. A few are martial artists. But Molly is neither. Instead, it is our love of chickens that we have in common. We met in 2013 via a chicken forums page. We both had an interest in seeing the Howard County zoning laws changed to make it easier for residents to own egg laying hens

On June 7, 2014, she helped me at my Savage Chickens booth at the 2014 Savage Fest community festival. Here, we displayed a few of our chickens and spoke to the public about backyard chicken raising. In the left photo, she is showing a Buff Orpington.
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Dinner at La Palapa Too

Sara at Mallows Bay

Sara and Don
Norma and I met Sara and Don not long after we moved into Savage in December 2009. As we became more active in the community, we learned that we had quite a lot in common with them. What I really admire about them is their ability to lead. They say a good leader doesn't say, "Go" but rather "Let's go." That describes them perfectly. It is their dedication to the community that has inspired me and several others to become active participants. Every community needs people like Sara and Don.

In the second photo at left, Sara is kayaking and taking photos at Mallows Bay on June 21, 2014.

Cousin Steve in Annapolis

Cousin Steve
Cousin Steve has been sort of a big brother figure to me. I remember going to see him and his sister Cindy quite a bit when I was young.

Now that we're older, we still try to get together. In this photo, Steve is paddling my Prijon Catalina like a pro in Annapolis on October 10, 2012.
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Dan H. doing what he does best

Dan H.
I'm guessing I first met Dan H. in 2004 though I'm not totally sure. I know we went backpacking with a group in Laurel Forks on July 29-31, 2005. We also did several group kayak trips together...more than I can remember.

Dan eventually left the Washington, D.C. area and headed for greener pastures. He found what he was looking for in Charleston, South Carolina. For him, it is paradise. He also found his soul mate there, Julie.

On March 29 and 30, 2013, I had a chance to visit him. He shared with me the beauty of the place he now calls home.
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Me, Carmen, and Norma in Philadelphia

Me, Carmen, and Norma in Philadelphia

Me, Carmen, and Norma at Druid Lake in Baltimore

Team SNaCk
Not too many people on this web page appear more than once. But I've had a lot of good times with Norma and Carmen so I figure they deserve multiple entries.

On November 11, 2012, Veterans Day, the three of us took a day trip out to Philadelphia. We saw a lot of stuff that day.
  • Fairmount Waterworks Interpretive Center
  • Reading Terminal Market
  • Board Game Art Park at the Municipal Services Building. See first and second photos.
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art: Yes, we posed in front of the Rocky statue and ran up the steps.
  • Eastern State Penitentiary: A prison built 1822 to 1836 that linked solitude with moral and vocational instruction. It exemplified the Pennsylvania System of penology and became a model for over 300 prisons worldwide. It was closed in 1971 and remain a popular tourist attraction.
  • Jack's Firehouse Restaurant

  • Eventually, the bond between Norma, Carmen, and me became strong enough so that we needed a name. Carmen suggested "Team SNaCk" where the SNC stands for Saki, Norma, and Carmen. It seemed appropriate since we take so many snack breaks whenever we're together. I had shirts made with our Team SNaCk logo and we made an effort to wear them whenever we got together, like on our bike trip to Baltimore on May 18, 2013. See the third photo. Though you can't tell by the picture, we're all wearing similar'll just have to take my word for it.
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    Joyce and Jimmy in the Gaudineer Scenic Area

    Joyce and Jimmy
    I've known Joyce and Jimmy since 2006. Joyce is Norma's younger sister and Jimmy is her husband. They are friendly, active, hard-working, good people and I am glad to have gotten to know them.

    In the photo, they are on a twilight walk in the Gaudineer Scenic Area of Monongahela National Forest on October 9, 2011 with Harlem (in the backpack). Harlem is not being cooperative with the photographer.
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    Janie on Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP)

    Janie in the Baltimore Inner Harbor

    I've known Janie since 2010. We met at work. I was doing my circuit course workout with some other co-workers and (knowing she was a runner) I asked her to join us. She did and had a good time in doing so. She was able to do lots of pushups along with a good number of pullups.

    Janie competes in various athletic events, sometimes with her equally physically active son.

    Since she has taken up kayaking, we've become paddling buddies.

    In the first photo, she is paddling her Bic stand-up paddle (SUP) board on June 3, 2011. In the second photo, she is in her L.L. Bean Perception Calypso kayak in the Baltimore Inner Harbor on June 30, 2011.
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    Me, Carmen, and Clark at Long Run Falls

    Carmen and Clark
    I've been with Norma for quite some time now and as one might expect, I've grown fond of some of her friends...enough so that I consider them my friends too. Two in particular are Carmen and Clark. Carmen is a soccer player, swimmer, and cat lover. Actually, I think she loves all animals but cats in particular. Clark is a brilliant scientist but he'll be quick to deny it because he is humble. But trust me, he is brilliant.

    On January 16, 2011, we cross country skied on the Youghiogheny River Trail, a rail trail. It was a flat route on the southwest side of the Youghiogheny River, just southeast of Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania. Our out-and-back route that day took us 8.35 miles! This was quite impressive considering we had already done 7 miles the day prior. This was only Carmen's second day of cross country skiing but she did fine. There were no falls that day.

    Behind us in the photo at left is a frozen waterfall. My guess is that it is from Long Run. But Clark decided to instead call it Baleen Whale Falls.
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    Norma's friends

    Norma's friends

    Norma's Friends
    Here are a few more of Norma's friends and her friends' offspring. The first photo was taken at a fine October 23, 2010 Fallfest. I'm at the far left...not where I stand politically...just in the photo. On the blanket are Ashlyn (the child) and Amy (the grown-up). Between the blue chairs are Viviana (the child) and Allison (her mother). At the table are Clark and Yvette. In the green chair is Eric, Yvette's son. Just to the right of the portable fireplace is Jorge, Eric's father. The child sitting to the right of Jorge in the back is Daniel. Standing next to Daniel is Harold, Daniel's father. Sitting in front of Harold is Rekha, Harold's wife.

    The second photo was taken at an Indian Restaurant called Tiffin. This was to celebrate Bill and Anita being wed and their short return from living down under in Chile. Bill is Norma's former landlord and the former mayor of Hyattsville. From left to right are Carmen, Thanusha, Norma, Matt, Bill, Anita, Elizabeth, Sandy, Clark, Malar, Dursha, and Nidhiksha.
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    Ken on a Pygmy kayak

    Ken D.
    Of all my friends, Ken is the one that I have known the longest. We estimate we've known each other since about the third grade. We went to the same elementary school, middle school, and high school. We got our black belts under the same Karate instructor. Though we lost contact during my military and college years, we managed to hook back up after I moved east. When I visit Cali, I always make a point to spend time with him.

    In the photo at left, Ken paddles the Pygmy boat he built. On May 28, 2010, he took Norma and me kayaking on Elkhorn Slough near Monterey, California. We saw a plethora of wildlife, did some nice walks, ate good food, and explored the tidepools.
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    Chip, master of many trades

    Chip W.
    Most sea kayakers stick with sea kayaking and most whitewater kayakers stick with whitewater. But Chip is the exception. He's highly skilled both on canoes and kayaks, both on whitewater, flatwater, and everything in between. When it comes to portaging around obstacles to explore a rarely paddled creek, he's the man. Sort of a trailblazer but on a kayak/canoe. I only wish there were more people as adventurous as him.

    In the photo at left, Chip maneuvers his kevlar Wenonah canoe through shallow water on Mason Branch, near Mason Bridge in Tuckahoe State Park. For more information see my May 14, 2010 trip report.
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    Suzanne and Saki kayaking on Nassawango Creek

    Suzanne F.
    I can't remember exactly when I first met Suzanne but I think it might have been May 19-21, 2006 at Pocomoke River State Forest and Park. That was a fun weekend filled with good people.

    Suzanne is an avid kayaker who organizes and leads trips with the Chesapeake Paddlers Association. You may find her paddling a Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 with a full carbon fiber Epic Mid Wing wing paddle (good choice).

    In the photo at the left, Suzanne and I are paddling up Nassawango Creek on June 20, 2009.

    She is a fun person who throws great parties and is always willing to try out one of my boats.

    Together, we have led some good kayak trips:
  • Broadkill River and Prime Hook 2010
  • Chincoteague 2010
  • Trap Pond 2011
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    Vince kayaking on the Patuxent River

    Vince L.
    Vince is the husband of Susan Justice. But he also has his own identity. He coaches a dragon boat team, judges flower competitions, and works as a chemist where he makes glue.

    Like many of my friends, Vince is a good kayaker. But he also does his part to keep the kayaking world clean by picking up trash. He drove 3 long hours from Pennsylvania to help me clean up the Patuxent (Pax) River on April 4, 2009 and April 2, 2011. Such dedication!

    In the photo on the left, he offers a toast to a good day of paddling on the Pax on March 31, 2009.
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    Mike B. and Saki at the National Marine Corps Museum

    Mike B.
    Few things pull men closer than combat. Mike B. was my squad leader during the Gulf War back in 1991. From December 1990 through April 1991, 8 of us, led by Sergeant Mike, lived in close quarters 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. About 3 months of this was out in the field, away from mess halls, buildings, showers, or toilets. He took fantastic care of us, make sure our needs were met, and kept our morale high. For details about our experience during the war, see Gulf War Memories.

    Since Mike and I left the Marines, we've managed to keep in touch. On March 6, 2009, Mike, Will C. (another member of our platoon) and I met at Fogo de Chao in Baltimore. There, we talked about putting together a reunion for Second Battalion, Second Marines, Weapons Company, 81mm Mortar Platoon. The next day, I took Mike to the National Marine Corps Museum. In the photo at the left, we pose by an old mortar...very similar to ones we shot.
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    Saki, Ralph, and Chuck at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

    Ralph H.
    To say Ralph does more than his fair share of the work would be an understatement. He has led numerous kayaking and hiking trips, both for adults and Boy Scouts. He volunteers his time to pick up trash on the Patuxent River and he also helps keep the hiking trails clear. Ralph is one of the three most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to the great outdoors in Maryland (can you guess the others?). I am always excited to be invited to an outdoor event led by Ralph because I know it will be well organized and enjoyable.

    I have participated in numerous events with Ralph including the following:
  • Catoctin Mountain Park and Cunningham Falls State Park, November 18-20, 2005
  • Laurel Forks in Monongahela National Forest , July 29-31, 2005
  • Pocomoke River and Nassawango Creek, May 19-21, 2006
  • Patuxent River Cleanup at Patuxent River Park and Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, March 31, 2007
  • Michaux State Forest, December 13, 2008
  • Tuckahoe River, May 10, 2009
  • Nassawango and Dividing Creeks, June 20-21, 2009
  • Morgan Creek, August 29, 2009
  • Patuxent River Cleanup: November 6, 2010
  • Patuxent River Cleanup: April 7, 2012

  • In the photo at left, Ralph appears in the center at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary after a long day of removing trash from the Patuxent River.

    Ralph leads numerous kayak trips, especially car camping events. I like to think of him as the Mike J. of the sea kayaking world.
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    Lisa on her Red Prijon Catalina kayak

    Lisa A.
    Lisa is a very social and outgoing person who enjoys performing in improvisational comedy and kayaking. What I like most about her is her excellent track record for attending my parties.

    I believe I met Lisa in 2005 at the Chesapeake Paddlers Association (CPA) SK102 kayak training weekend at Lake Anna, Virginia. Since then, I've paddled with her a few times including Nassawango Creek (a tributary of the Pocomoke River on the eastern shore of Maryland) and Marley Creek near Glen Burnie. In the photo at left, she is waiting for the others to put their boats into the Nassawango as she patiently waits in her Red Prijon Catalina kayak. For more information, see May 19-21, 2006.
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    Jenn and friends, 2009

    Jenn and friends, 2009
    If you had to ask me who my best friend is, I definitely know that Jenn would be in the running. If you asked me which of my friends knows me the best, she would again come to mind. I mention her at August 10, 2002 and Jenn's family so I'll just tell you about the photo, taken in either late 2008 or early 2009.

    From left to right are Chaos (border collie), Tater Tot (beagle mix), Jenn (human), and Meg (collie, not miniature). I am amazed that Jenn's brother managed to get everyone to look and pose for the photo. I have taken plenty of dog photos and it is difficult enough to get one dog to look at the camera.
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    David T. paddling on Dark Head Creek

    David T. (T-Bear)
    I first met David on September 21, 2007. We have a few things in common. We're both friends of Susan Justice, we're both pretty fast on a kayak (but he's faster), we're close to the same age, but what is most interesting is that we both own Futura C4 surf skis...they're event the same color!

    I've paddled with David a few times now and I have to say he is the fastest non-racer I know. Someday, I hope to be as fast as him.

    Sadly, he moved away in 2010 or 2011 and we have lost contact.
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    Ken D. at my parents' house

    Ken D.
    Ken is without a doubt, the friend I have had the longest. I think we met in the second grade. Eventually, we both studied Kenpo Karate under the same sensei. In high school, we played hackysack. Then we lost contact for several years and reconnected after I moved to Maryland. I make time to visit Ken when I am back in Sacramento. He is the only friend I have kept from my school days.

    The photo on the left was taken August 2, 2008 at my parents' house. Ken visited me along with many of my relatives on one of my bi-annual visits.
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    Cindy and me at Wolf Rock

    I met Cindy on my first Maryland Outdoor Club hike back on May 7, 2006. Since then, we've participated in a variety of other outdoor activities together.

    In the photo at the left, we're scouting Catoctin Mountain Park on Feburary 9, 2008 for an upcoming group hike that we led together, along with Norma. This superfantastic tri-leader hike took place on March 1, 2008. Norma took this photo of us at Wolf Rock near a big crevice.
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    Susan Justice on Marley Creek

    I'm guessing I met Yvonne around 2004 but I didn't get to know her well until much later. She paddles a Mystic sea kayak like a pro. She taught Recon Jimmy to roll his kayak after a 5 minute lesson. She has traveled to more places and done more fascinating things than just about any person I've ever known. I can say without a doubt that Yvonne is one of the most interesting people I know. Part of the reason is because she lives life to the fullest and does so with a positive attitude.

    In the photo at left, Yvonne is paddling with me in Mallows Bay on September 23, 2007 to see the ship graveyard.
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    Susan Justice on Marley Creek

    Susan Justice
    I met Susan around 2003 on a kayak car camping event. She completed in Dragon Boat racing back then. Now she completes in kayak racing. In 2006, she paddled over 1000 miles. As of July 2007, she's won far too many races to mention. Her biggest accomplishment was finishing the General Clinton 70 mile kayak race on Memorial Day 2007.

    In the photo at the left, she is paddling her Epic V10 Sport surfski on Marley Creek, using an Epic carbon fiber wing paddle.
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    Mike on the northeastern loop of the Chuck Keiper Trail in Sproul State Forest

    Mike J.
    I met Mike on a backpacking scouting trip on April 15-17, 2006. Since then, I have gone on numerous backpacking and hiking trips with him, including one trail maintenance trip. If there was an award for outing leader of the decade, it would certainly go to Mike, who leads about 16 backpacking trips per year with several other day hikes. I don't know of anyone else who even comes close to this. Over the years, he has introduced countless people into backpacking.

    Be sure to check out Mike's personal web page which holds a plethora of information for hikers and backpackers.
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    Brian, Norma, and KC at what was once a beaver dam

    Brian, Norma, and KC
    Brian, Norma, KC, and I spent the day exploring the area around Jug Bay on March 4, 2007. Here, Brian, Norma, and KC stand in front of what was once an active beaver dam at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary. For more information, see Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Critical Area Driving Tour, and Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary.
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    Dave, Stacy, and me

    Stacy and Dave
    Dave and Stacy (no, they're not a couple) went with Norma and me to the National Museum of the Marine Corps on December 3, 2006. What Dave, Stacy, and I have in common is that we all served in the Marines and all are or were active members of the Howard County Sierra Club. Dave was a radioman in the Marines whereas Stacy was an air traffic controller in the Marines. Stacy has swum across the Chesapeake Bay twice! Oohrah Stacy!!!
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    Norma at wedding

    Norma at baby shower, 2006

    Norma in Maine holding seaweed, 2009

    Norma with Daphne on kayak, 2018

    Norma is a fun, exciting, multi-lingual friend, and activity partner. She's a good bicyclist, hiker, and trip planner who has lived in Japan and Germany. Norma has helped make my summer of 2006 the best and busiest summer of my life!

    We first met on May 31, 2006 at Greenbelt Lake then later that day, we ate dinner at Chef’s Secret, a Thai restaurant, not far away from the lake.

    In the first photo at the left, she's at a wedding in June 2004. In the second photo at left, she's at a baby shower in August 2006. My favorite picture of her is from our July-August 2009 trip to Maine (third photo).

    Most of the stuff we do is outdoorsy active. But not everything.

  • October 28-30, 2011: We managed to spend a whole weekend in the Brandywine, Delaware area visiting mansions, museums, and gardens without doing any bicycling, hiking, or kayaking!
  • Martin Luther King Weekend 2012: We just spent some time with her interns in Delaware.
  • Chestertown Weekend 2014: Seeing the tall ships and art studios
  • Owl Chase 2015: Looking for owls. Outdoorsy, yes. Active, no.

  • After spending the best 6 years of my life with her, we were finally wed on October 7, 2012.

    On January 20, 2018 we adopted Daphne who has become a huge part of our lives. She has greatly enriched our time together (fourth photo).
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    Brian, May 29, 2006

    Twenty mile Patuxent River paddle with Brian
    On Memorial Day, May 29, 2006, Brian and I paddled a meandering 20 miles from Clyde Watson Boating Area (Magruders Ferry) to Hallowing Point. The day was warm, a little humid, hazy in the morning, and clear around the middle of the day. We began paddling around 0830 and explored part of the east side of the Patuxent River using a float plan that involved a car shuttle so we could take advantage of the 1235 low tide.

    After finding two small tributaries that ended quickly, we found two beautiful creeks that went on for a good ways into natural, wooded parts of Patuxent River Natural Resources Management Area (NRMA). This included Chew Creek and Cocktown Creek (I love that name). After exploring the latter, we stopped for a quick lunch at the mouth of the creek on the north side (see photo on left). The scenic creeks were meandering, clean, and loaded with a variety of vegetation, including some wild flowers. A small fish jumped over the bow of my surf ski.

    Paddling downstream, Brian pointed out Kings Landing Pier, where he's launched in the past. Back in deeper water, we often maintained a steady pace between 6.2 and 7.2 miles per hour. After looking for new launch sites at Eagle Harbor (and not finding any), we paddled 0.9 miles south on a channel that led to a nuclear power plant. The water was noticeably warmer because it is used to cool the reactor. We saw fishermen catching glowing catfish in the channel. Not sure if the channel went all the way through to Swanson Creek but it was barricaded and closed to boat traffic near the reactor.

    I enjoy paddling with Brian because he is nice to talk to and always pushes me, physically. With his Epic 18 sea kayak, he was fast but now that he has an Epic V10 surf ski (see photo on left), he's definitely faster than me...but just by a little bit.
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    Junkyard Jimmy, May 22, 2006

    Junkyard Jimmy
    This is one of my best friends, Junkyard Jimmy, on May 22, 2006. He was voted best heavy metal guitarist in Jonestown, Pennsylvania two years in a row and also inducted into the martial art instructor's hall of fame. Jimmy is one of those rare individuals who is capable of excelling at anything he sets his mind on. Fortunately his high-achieving spirit has been passed onto his three children.
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    Dr. Chuck, April 29, 2006

    Dr. Chuck, April 30, 2006

    Dr. Chuck at Great Falls
    On April 29 and 30, 2006, Dr. Chuck and I went on a little hike. He flew out from California the day prior to attend a conference. On the weekend before the conference, we spent time together, hiking, dining, bulls**tting and catching up on old times. In the first photo on the left, Dr. Chuck is seen at Great Falls Overlook in Maryland on April 29. The next day, he got a chance to help me explore Great Falls Park in Virginia (see second photo on left). After having run a marathon in days past, he barely broke a sweat, even on the steepest parts of the trail. Of all my friends, Dr. Chuck probably knows me best. We all need a special friend we can talk to about almost anything and for me, that is him. If you were wondering, he's not a medical doctor...though he has been known to say, "Trust me, I'm a doctor" to pretty women. His Ph.D. is in computer science.
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    Bob and Saki, February 26, 2006

    Bob and Saki, February 26, 2006
    This is my old friend "fast twitch" Bob. Bob is full of fast twitch muscles. Hence, in a fight, he'll always score the first punch or kick because he's lightning fast. Bob runs his own business where he makes training knives, makes martial art training videos, and designs martial art websites. Go to Edges2 Training Blades for more information. Bob has great taste in food, music, movies...and friends.
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    Neil with Outriger Canoe, June 18, 2005

    Neil with Outrigger Canoe, June 18, 2005
    This is my paddling buddy, Neil. Like me, he appreciates fast boats. He used to paddle a surf ski. On this day, he used his 24 foot long Futura Sea Horse outrigger canoe in the Second Annual Paddle for the Cure on June 18, 2005. He placed third overall in a 7.9 mile race. More recently, he has gotten into stand up paddleboarding (SUP). He is one of my SUP role models. See my August 2, 2014 blog to read about one such race that he and I participated in together.
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    Brazilian Jujitsu group and Jimmy, August 21, 2004

    Party, August 21, 2004
    I would often host a cookout in the summer.  In 2004, we had about 30 people show up throughout the day.  I grilled a variety of burgers including buffalo, turkey, beef, and veggie.  We finished off the evening watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
    Left to right: Jason, Jesse, Kevin, Tita Batista, Steve, Dr. Greg, Andy, and Jimmy.
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    Rick and Saki, June 5, 2004

    Rick and Me, June 5, 2004
    In 2004, I was staying at some Army barracks during the Marine Corps League Department of Pennsylvania pistol match weekend.  Coincidentally, (Slick) Rick was also staying in the same building.  At the time this photo was taken, Rick was serving in the Army National Guard.

    He passed away on October 7, 2018. He was swimming at Virginia Beach, Virginia and got caught in a rip tide. This surprised me since I'm pretty sure Rick was a good swimmer. I now have a great deal more respect for rip tides.
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    Jenn and Chaos, August 10, 2002

    Jenn and Chaos, August 10, 2002
    After Babe passed away, Jenn got a new hairdo and a new dog, Chaos, a border collie.
    Click thumbnail to enlarge.

    Dr. Chuck, August 2000

    Dr. Chuck, August 2000
    I met Dr. Chuck around 1997.  Then I worked for him in 1999 and 2000 until he moved back to California (where he is from).  In addition to being a great supervisor, he was also a good running and kayaking partner.
    Click thumbnail to enlarge.

    Babe (Jenn's dog) yawning, May 1999

    Babe, May 1999
    Along with the lovely house in Gambrills came Jenn's female dog, Babe.  Babe is half Samoyed and half Cocker Spaniel.  YAWN!!!
    Click thumbnail to enlarge.

    Jenn, Doug, and Karen, September 1999

    September 18, 1999
    From 1997 to 2001, I rented a room from Jenn S. in Gambrills, Maryland.  I got along just great with her and her family. Without a doubt, she is the closest thing I've ever had to a sister and though we don't see each other very often anymore, she is one of the finest people I have ever met.

    Left to right: Doug (Jenn's brother), Karen (the short one; Doug's wife), and Jenn.
    Click thumbnail to enlarge.

    For more friends, see Martial Arts.

    "True" Friendship...None of that Sissy Crap

    Are you tired of those sissy "friendship" poems that always sound good, but never actually come close to reality? Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship. You will see no cutesy little smiley faces -- just the stone cold truth of great friendship.

    1. When you are sad -- I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.

    2. When you are blue -- I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

    3. When you smile -- I will know you are plotting something that I must be involved in.

    4. When you are scared -- I will rag on you about it every chance I get.

    5. When you are worried -- I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.

    6. When you are confused -- I will use little words.

    7. When you are sick -- Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.

    8. When you fall -- I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.

    9. This is my oath.... I pledge it to the end. "Why?" you may ask, because you are my friend.

    Friendship is like peeing in your pants; everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth. Thanks for being the pee in my pants.