... a pebble in the pond

... now - the best is yet to come

Gary Now So ... work afterlife means sitting on the porch swing and doing nothing? Just back and forth? Maybe contemplating the next Steelers' game - or season. Maybe reading. Maybe watching Walking Dead or Breaking Bad or Dexter (when everyone else is watching PBS).

Maybe winning the lottery!

Or ... nothing - just swinging into Lamoni, Iowa oblivion.

Nah! There has to be more to this afterlife than that. Find me a crystal ball.

But - come to think about it - winning the lottery would be OK.

Gary Biking Biking became an obsession from late Spring to the end of Summer. Beginning April 30th and ending nearly 175 hours later on October 3rd, attacked over 161 rides by the hottest summer in long time, zillions of Doo Wop songs with my iPod plugged into my ear, and after a ferocious wipe out, I peddled 2,016 miles. My goal was to break 2,000 miles - it's nice to make your goal!

I did all my riding on the Lamoni Recreational Trail. The trail features six miles of paved biking and hiking trails through beautiful tree-lined vegetation. Former railroad bed provides a gentle and relaxing day outdoors for biking enthusiasts. From the trailhead at the Lamoni Welcome Center, the east trail passes through a leafy green tunnel of mature forest and then passes through town, it weaves around ponds. The railroad on which the trail was built has very little grade. In spring, blossoming red bud trees turn the trail into a lavender wonderland. Throughout the summer, a great variety of wildflowers take turns in the spotlight. It curves across gentle hills and open fields creating an alluring appeal to bicyclists. Views of Home Pond can be seen as the trail winds over six earthen dams to highlight several smaller ponds. As the route turns south on the far west side, there is a well-kept path to picnic tables. The trail ends in the parking lot of Liberty Hall.

Liberty HallI've spent a great deal of time working at the Liberty Hall Historic Site. With much assistance from Jim Jones - professor in Computer Science, racquetball partner and friend - I've created the internet site for Liberty Hall. In addition, I've written press releases and promotional material. I have enjoyed working with Steve Smith, who is the director now but will be leaving to be closer to his children at the end of the year. Steve has been a good friend during my experience at Liberty Hall, and I will miss him. Along with Steve, Alma Blair and Martha Harper, both past directors, have been a joy to be around.

Liberty Hall was built in 1881 in Lamoni, Iowa, and until 1905 was home to Joseph Smith III, the first president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - now the Community of Christ. Smith served in this capacity from 1860 to 1914. He called his home Liberty Hall to welcome all who might come to visit him and his family.

Liberty Hall is a premier restoration site listed on the Iowa and National Registers of historic homes that gives visitors a glimpse into a middle-class family, an era of late Midwestern Victorian culture, and the story of a significant religious movement in American history. The house, furniture, and antiques uniquely represent that time.

Gracland University offers a number of opportunities. Graceland is a private liberal-arts institution founded in 1895. The Graceland Performing Arts Series brings international performances of dance and music to the Lamoni area. Monthly events include a Russian Ballet or a traveling Broadway play coupled with outstanding student shows. In addition, it means taking courses and working out for me.

Web Dev Web Dev Web Dev

This Fall I'm taking Intro to Web Page Programming (CSIT 1060) from Jim Jones. We are learning the basics of how the World Wide Web works and building our own Graceland web site using HTML5 and CSS. We have aslo been exposed to related technology skills such as FTP, web forms, and scripts for dynamic web pages.

I have been making web pages for years - and learned through this course how much I have fallen behind in the what is going on in the world of HTML. At one time, I was right where it was all happening. I enjoyed designing web pages and received many of the awards from various Sites of the Day. I was most pround of receiving USA Today's New and Notable award for one of my sites. But - now I am struggling with all the new stuff that I have to learn. Many days I'm the last to leave with the professor bending over my computer - my mind usually in a whirl. & I enjoy it!

One of my favorite sayings is that Creativity is the ability to take what someone else has done - and apply it to what I want to accomplish. Thank goodness for copy/paste.

Working Out Working Out Working Out Working Out

Just opened up in the fall, The Fitzgerald Fitness Center (The Fitz) offers exercising with a nature-filled backdrop. Because I'm a student, I can use this facility. & boy do I use it - almost every day. Also, Daron Lilly, the director of the center and friend, has me monitor the center when he travels.

An aerobic area includes elliptical machines, bikes, climbers, and treadmills, most of which face long, open windows overlooking the campus and nature. Some of the machines are placed together, allowing for socialization, which I do not do, while others have the ability to watch a TV or plug in our iPods while working out. I plug in - daydream - listen to Doo Wop - and talk to no one.

Away from the windows, behind the aerobic equipment are the beasts that torture us - circuit training machines. Right now, I'm using the chest machine and stomach cruncher. Then, there is the small equipment, items like medicine balls, kettle bells and free weights. I have nothing to do with these.

The racquetball court (singular) is located in another building. Jim Jones and I have been playing weekly for a number of years.

I should be a hunk by March!

VirginiaMy good friend Virginia was born in February 1929 - you do the math on this one. She is a transplant from Cleveland - and says car with a really funny accent which of course I should talk because I talk Pittsburghese. She hates it when I make fun of her - which, of course I do!

I call Virginia the The Angel of Lamoni because she helps so many people. She especially helps the Amish - she's always taking them every where. She also helps people balance their checkbooks - which I haven't done in years.

Virginia and I have dinner once a week whenever we can and have had many adventures together, and I'm truly blessed to have her as a friend.

Whizzer! My cat - what a cool cat. Andy calls him Fatty. I don't let him call Whizzer that to his face 'cause it would upset him. Whizzer is an Amish cat that Virginia found for me - and together we rescued him from a life of living in a barn. He came to me when he was just a little - thin - kitten. He was probably too young to leave his litter mates. As a result, he spent his early time with me on my lap and learned to be affectionate - he's a people cat. He spends his days looking out the window and sleeping - when he's awake, he's usually on my lap. He drinks out of the sink and the toilet - he climbs on everything. At night, he finds the most comfortable place on the bed which is usually the most uncomfortable place for me. Whenever anyone visits, he runs to the door to greet them. Whizzer! My cat - what a cool cat.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. [Albert Einstein]