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My friend Melinda Miller and I have been posting photos side-by-side every week for more than three years now. Our latest year-long project is called Fore, and you can follow along with us at http://www.paulworthington.com/fore .

Lost

We bought a game table from an antique store. The curly maple top is reversible so you can play at least three different games with it. There are drawers on either side that can hold game pieces. We leave them empty. One of the games you can play with this table is chess. Every time I look at it, I think of my father-in-law, who was a genius chess master. After I shot this photo and was reviewing it for possible inclusion in Fore, I felt the loss again, and also felt this drawer is where one might look for something that’s lost. The inside is dark enough that I always wonder if something’s inside.

 

 

My friend Melinda Miller and I have been posting photos side-by-side every week for more than three years now. Our latest year-long project is called Fore, and you can follow along with us at http://www.paulworthington.com/fore .

Tattered

Our college-age niece from Virginia is on an internship in Florida. We invited her to Denver for a vacation. We spent most of a day and night in downtown, bouncing between the Tattered Cover bookstore in LoDo and restaurants, coffee shops, ComedyWorks and the Brown Palace. I love the Tattered Cover. The place is loaded with places to sit and read, and browsing their stacks is fun. This chair was comfortable, but what you can’t see is how worn and, yes, tattered it was.

 

My friend Melinda Miller and I have been posting photos side-by-side every week for more than three years now. Our latest year-long project is called Fore, and you can follow along with us at http://www.paulworthington.com/fore .

Race

My stepfather died of cancer in January 2010. He was a swell guy, of those guys you just thought would never die. There were a lot of family members all around him at the end, and even more friends and family who attended his memorial service. Cancer sucks, and in my family it has claimed some lives while others have survived. Every year, my wife and I walk in the Race 4 Research to raise money to fight cancer. This photo is of my stepdad’s shoes. I will wear them this year when we walk.

 

My friend Melinda Miller and I have been posting photos side-by-side every week for more than three years now. Our latest year-long project is called Fore, and you can follow along with us at http://www.paulworthington.com/fore .

I’m going to write the story behind each of my weekly photos. Some stories will be more interesting than others. But I’ve never really told the stories behind my photos for the first three years, and I wanted to get them all out from now on.

Fuzzy

We recently switched dog groomers. After years with the same guy up in Denver just north of Washington Park, we switched to one a lot closer to us. The new groomer is actually my middle brother’s ex-wife. On our first visit to her, she gave Mu Shu, our Chow mix, what she called a “teddy bear” cut – very close and very fuzzy. I’ve never see Mu Shu like this. It took some getting used to, but it’s a great cut, very adorable. I took this picture within days of the new look, while Elwood watched from the background with The Octopus, wondering what to make of it all.

Kaz playing chess

The man playing chess in this picture is one of the smartest cats I’ve ever known. His name is Kaz, and he’s my late father-in-law. He passed away in the summer of 2008 after fighting brain tumors for about two years.

Later that summer, my wife found the Race for Research, a 5K fun run & walk benefiting the Cancer League of Colorado, with the proceeds being tagged specifically for brain cancer research. We signed up and participated last August. My brother Brad is a cancer survivor, and he and his wife joined us in the walk. I babbled the whole way around, which left me a little breathless, but we had a great time. And then there were free pancakes after the race! Can’t beat that with a stick.

Now is the time for the 13th Annual Race for Research 5K Fun Run and Walk. It’s going to be August 23, 2009, in Washington Park, in Denver. I’ve set up a page for family and friends that kind of explains what we’re doing and simplifies the sign-up information from the official race site (don’t get me started on the 13-year-old design of that site!).

If you can participate on that Sunday, we’d love to have you join us. A bunch of us will be walking, and I think one or two may run. If you just want to contribute to the fundraising but can’t do the 5k, there’s a convenient link included for that. And registration and donation is easier than last year, so that’s good.

We sincerely hope you can come walk or run with us!

I was born in New Orleans in the mid ’60s. My family moved to a suburb before my first birthday. I grew up there, in that same suburb through high school. I graduated from a university town only about an hour away from home. At that commencement ceremony, only two of my friends came to celebrate with me, and no family members. Sidney Barthelemy, then the mayor of New Orleans, gave the commencement address. I can summarize his entire speech in one sentence:

mayorPLEASE DON’T LEAVE!

So let’s back up a few years. My parents separated when I was around 12 years old. Ultimately my mother moved to Colorado. Being the youngest in the family, Mom got custody of me every summer for a number of years. That meant I got to visit Colorado a lot before leaving high school. There was a lot to like – a drier climate, cooler nights, mountains, even snow.

Over time, nearly everyone in my family moved away from Louisiana. Mom had moved a couple of times for my step-dad’s career – Colorado and California and Florida. My sister had long ago moved to Kansas. Both brothers ultimately moved to Colorado, also. That left my dad and stepmother and my stepsister in Louisiana. My stepsister was destined to stay in New Orleans, it seems – she’s still there today and I think she now qualifies as a native. 😉 But my dad was retiring and he and my stepmom moved back to her little hometown in Missouri after my fourth college year. I had one more semester to go, thanks to my decision to change my major after two years in. So, I spent the Fall semester, my final one, in Louisiana alone except for a couple of good friends.

What was there to keep me in Louisiana? I had some friends, but are those enough to keep someone in one place? For some people, yes, but countless people move all the time and leave friends behind. I had my degree, but I had decided not to pursue the subject post-graduation. I still think that was a good decision, but at the time it left me without knowing what to do next.

music-new-orleans-styleIn 1987 the economy in the New Orleans area was not very good in general, although there were some improvements happening, and I figure it still lags behind in various ways. For year upon year, New Orleans had been ranked as “America’s Murder Capital”, the city with more annual homicides per capita than any other, sometimes facing stiff competition from Houston and Washington, D.C. Louisiana turned out good people, smart people, and higher education there was not bad. But college graduates were fleeing the state in droves. Not without good reason. Mayor Barthelemy pleaded with educated young people to stay and help the region progress, and rightly so.

In Colorado, I had family, I greatly preferred the climate, I felt the economic future was brighter, in some ways the culture was more exciting, and I felt more alive, inspired, and energetic there. I knew my future was not in Louisiana, even if it meant leaving my friends behind.

maroon-bells-clicheEven if my family still lived in the New Orleans area, I am not sure it would have been enough to keep me there. On the other hand, had I never experienced a place like Colorado maybe I would have been content to stay put. I’ll never know. But I have never regretted my decision to leave for even one second.

I visited my old hometown three times over the next several years. The first trip confirmed I had made the right decision, as it got the nostalgia out of my system. The second trip was with my wife to attend my stepsister’s wedding in New Orleans. We went in total tourist mode, something I’d never done, wandering the French Quarter and visiting my old haunts in my hometown and my college town. We enjoyed it, but once again it got something out of my system. I think it was a desire to show my wife some of where I came from, how I was formed and shaped growing up in the Deep South. The final trip was a one-day business trip to set up a booth at an expo on behalf of my employer, and although I had a nice visit with my stepsister and her husband, I was happy to leave in the end. I’m proud of my Southern heritage, and I am grateful to have gotten to grow up where I did. But that’s the past.

That trip with my wife was some 14 years ago or so and we haven’t been back. There are various reasons – we’ve vacationed in other places, and lately there have been extended family matters dominating our plans. We had a good time there and don’t count out a future visit. It’s not a high priority, however.

I seem to be out of step with the rest of my family, and not for the first time. Over the last several years, the members of my immediate family have visited and revisited New Orleans and the surrounding area repeatedly. Some really seem to love the place. I’ve always wondered why there is such fervent affection and devotion. What is the draw? I welcome your comments.

photo credits:
“sidney barthelemy” by unknown
“music new orleans style” by Brenda Anderson
“maroon bells cliche” by august allen

My sister had a good record collection by the time she entered college. When she moved out of state, she left all her vinyl LPs to her two younger brothers to split. So my middle brother and I divided the vinyl stack between us. We each ended up with an eclectic mix of music. He’s four and a half years older than I am, and at this time I was quite young – about 11 or 12, I guess. His musical tastes ran a little harder than mine. But we were both satisfied. I received some good stuff, like Frampton Comes Alive!, as well as a number of albums that kind of ended up as mine by default. The latter kind became more interesting, though.

Within a couple of years, my brother was on another of his frequent mini-obsessions. This time it was an early sign of his lifelong affinity for the simple, rustic life of the distant past. The new obsession was Southern Rock. In my stash of records from our sister, I had a few from The Marshall Tucker Band and my brother knew it. He was desperately into the genre and wanted to negotiate a bargain with me.

“Paul, you have those Marshall Tucker albums and I am dying to get my hands on them,” he said. “So I’ll trade you. If you give me your three Marshall Tucker albums, I’ll give you any three albums in my collection. Anything. Just name it.”

Now, I had never listened to those Marshall Tucker records and I didn’t even like the band all that much. Frankly, they were a little more grown-up than where my tastes were at the time. A decade later, I finally started to appreciate them. That’s kind of a pattern with certain music in my life, particularly stuff that was classic before I was ready for it. However, for the first time in my life, I had bargaining power over my middle brother and I wasn’t going to waste it.

“I want your Richard Pryor albums.”

I have never seen such a look of dismay on another person’s face to this day. Immediately, the negotiating began. “Come on,” he said, “anything but those. Pick anything else. You don’t even like Marshall Tucker!”

But he wouldn’t budge and so I wouldn’t, either. I never got Richard Pryor from him and he never got Marshall Tucker from me. A short time later – weeks? months? – his fervor for Southern Rock had cooled drastically, which was not unexpected, and not only did he stop pleading for my records, but also he started to move on to other, newer fascinations. I was stuck with records I didn’t care about, but at least I didn’t give in. And I was pretty pleased about that.

  1. Bossa Nova
  2. Aldo Nova
  3. Chevy Nova
  4. Supernova
  5. Nova Scotia
  6. NOVA on PBS
  7. Villanova
  8. Terra Nova
  9. Nova from Planet of the Apes
  10. Northern Virginia

My wife and I are quite generous, like all good Worthingtons. For as long as I can remember, we have given away massive amounts of chocolate candy to trick-or-treaters every Halloween. A few years ago, we added it all up. We hand out over 72 pounds of chocolate candy each and every single Halloween. How do we do it?

First, we had to get two giant Igloo coolers. I fill each cooler all the way up to the top with candy. These coolers are now iconic legends all over this part of town. Every year, when kids ring the bell and I open the door, I am greeted with screams of “cooler guy!!“. It’s pretty hilarious. Ask my friend, Dan Ross, about it. I had him “stand in” for me one year, and people only saw the cooler, not the face of the guy behind the cooler. 😉

Igloo cooler full of delicious chocolate candy

As you can see, we only give away the good stuff. All the best and favorite chocolate candies.

 

  • Almond Joy
  • Peanut M&Ms
  • Plain M&Ms
  • Snickers
  • Baby Ruth
  • Nestle Crunch
  • Hershey’s Chocolate
  • Kit Kat
  • Butterfinger
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (the big ones)

 

That’s in every bag. So let’s talk about the bags we buy. We always get good deals in bulk from either Wal-mart or Costco. This year, we got 13 big bags. As I emptied them into the coolers this afternoon, I did the numbers.

Two Igloo coolers stacked up, full of delicious chocolate candy

 

Each of the 13 bags had a net weight of 5.6 lbs, and 150 pieces of candy each. I put seven bags in one cooler and six bags in the other. The grand total is 72.8 pounds of candy I will give away tonight, or 1,950 individual pieces. Even Elwood can’t believe it.

Elwood and the Igloo coolers full of chocolate candy

Now, how does one give away that much candy in one Halloween night? Well, I have to use two hands. For every kid at the door, I scoop my two hands deep into the top cooler and dump at least a dozen pieces into each bucket or bag. You should hear the reactions when the sheer weight of each two-fisted scoop smacks the bottom of the pillow case!

Stack of Igloo coolers full of candy standing ready at the front doors

I think Halloween must be my favorite holiday. What do you think? What’s Halloween like where you are? Leave a comment or contact me via email.

Current Status: The trick-or-treaters have only been coming for about 45 minutes, or less, and I’ve already cleared one cooler. That’s roughly 36 lbs. of chocolate candy – almost one piece every minute.

As I have noticed, and as my brother noted in his comment on my last hundred pushups post, most people trying the program find it tough to get over the Week 3 hump. Since I am starting over, I returned to the 100 pushups site to look up the details again, and I noticed the plan had changed. If you look at the Week 3 page, you will find a link to the original page (“for a limited time”). And if you compare the two versions, you’ll notice the new and updated plan takes a lower slope than the old one. The guy running the site probably has been getting tons of feedback about how unrealistic parts of it were.

Here are excerpts from both versions, to point out the differences. First, look at the original Week 3 Day 1 numbers.

DAY 1

REST 60 SECONDS BETWEEN EACH LEVEL (LONGER IF REQUIRED)

  16 -20 push ups 21 – 25 push ups > 25 push ups
LEVEL 1 15 20 25
LEVEL 2 12 15 17
LEVEL 3 12 15 17
LEVEL 4 10 13 15
LEVEL 5 max (at least 15) max (at least 20) max (at least 25)

 

And here is the updated version. Notice the reps are lower, across the board.

DAY 1

REST 60 SECONDS BETWEEN EACH LEVEL (LONGER IF REQUIRED)

  16 -20 push ups 21 – 25 push ups > 25 push ups
SET 1 10 12 14
SET 2 12 17 18
SET 3 7 13 14
SET 4 7 13 14
SET 5 max (at least 9) max (at least 17) max (at least 20)

 

And it’s not just Week 3, either. Even if you start out brand new on Week 1 Day 1, that’s a new plan, too. You’ll find a link to the former Week 1 plan, and you’ll see its numbers are higher.

Let’s see how far I get this time.