Wednesday, 30 December 2020: The End of Christmas 2020
Well, here it is Wednesday, but I haven't done much at all. I did bring in the ornament boxes so Kady could take the ornaments off of the tree, which she did in record time, and then went shopping while I tried to disassemble the tree and put it away. Complete failure. With my hurt arm, I couldn't get the bottom portions apart.
The arm is better, though.
When she got home, she helped, and I got it packed away in its box, no small feat. In the middle of all this packing, she made her homemade Caramelized Red Onion and Prosciutto Pizza, my Fave.
Today we took all the Christmas things over to Jay's garage for storage. It took two trips in the Fusion Truck. Now we're Done!
Yesterday, we worked on the fireplace, cleaning it up, arranging the logs, and lighting it for the first time in two years. It looks nice. I sat staring at it, mesmerized, until Kady pointed out to me what I was doing. Maybe it's a primal instinct. Why did I want to stare at it? Why did I have this sudden need to snuggle with Kady on the couch?
It needs to get Virginia cold outside, so I can sit by my fire and read. Currently, I'm reading The Quiet American by Graham Greene.
Now the girl is downstairs changing the living room and library. It is a never-ending process.
Today is Mom's birthday and Sevda's. I missed Mom and sent Sevda a birthday message and a Happy New Year.
Sunday, 27 December 2020: Nothing
Today, I did absolutely nothing productive. I did, however, spend a few hours with McMurphy and the other folks at China Beach and re-watched Last Love for Clemence Posey. I watched Midnight Sky last night. It was the best movie I have seen in a very long time. Watch it!
Saturday, 26 December 2020: A Happy Christmas
I was up this morning at 3 AM, unable to sleep any longer. I went to bed last night before 7 PM, worn out from the aching in my arm and walking cooper in the rain, trying to get him to poo, and from the wrestling match that ensued as I tried to towel and then blow-dry him.
It rained hard all day yesterday, so we couldn't go for a real walk, but we probably did a mile in circles around where he likes to go, he just wouldn't. It was the rain. He hates the rain.
His mom and dad drove in from DC for Brunch. I took him for a short walk this morning, which worked. They can walk him longer when they get here. It's supposed to go down to 32-degrees about mid-day, making for slippery conditions, and I am not going out in it. No more falls for me.
It's rare that we are all together at Christmas. Jay, KS, Jk, and Em came over after lunch and we all sat around the table for a welcome change. Kady made a nice lunch, not traditional, but absolutely delicious. We chose Dirty Santa gifts afterwards, picking a number and choosing, in order, from a pile of gifts, $50 maximum, one gift supplied by each person. During your turn, if you'd rather have any of the gifts previously selected, you can "steal" that gift, and that person gets another choice. I stole Kelly's Breakfast Sandwich Maker, with which she was Ok, and her next choice was prefect for her, so I didn't feel bad. The kids also gave me a box set of China Beach.
During the afternoon, Em and I had some time together, finally, playing a rip-roaring game of hide and seek, playing my guitar, and looking at Ansel Adams photographs. She seems really fascinated by black and white photography.
Bee worked today. "They're paying me a whole bunch of money."
E and A stayed the night here and then departed for Kansas this morning, taking Cooper with them. I used my sandwich maker to make a great sandwich. Winner! Now, I'm going to take the day off, watch some China Beach, and then get back on my fitness routine, tomorrow.
Tuesday, 22 December 2020: It's NOT the damn Christmas Star!
Religious people are so Ridiculous. I tried all week to shut out the ignorant articles about the Saturn-Jupiter Conjunction, calling it the Christmas Star. I've been watching it happening since July when Jupiter and Earth were at their closest point or Opposition.
Rather than celebrating this fun scientific event, renaming it the "Christmas Star" has the entire Christian world spinning in a tizzy.
As I was outside last night, setting up my telescope, excited that, on the night of the closeest conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter, I had a clear sky, a guy asked if I was looking for the "STAR."
Indignant, I stated, "You mean the Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn."
Unfazed, he continued, "It's supposed to be in the South-West Sky," as if it might not be.
I thought, "Well, no kidding, Bubba. Why the hell do you think I'm setting up my scope pointed at the South- West?"
Instead of growling at the guy, I pointed, "It'll be right there, when it's dark enough" and went back to work.
He continued to talk, "WE'RE going to the Mall so there won't be as many trees."
"That's a Great Idea," I agreed, hoping he'd leave immediately.
Right. Don't stand in your dark front yard with a guy who has a telescope, who can show you right where it will be in the sky, and explain why it is not a star or the proof you've been looking for all your life that your holy book is true, and explain to you what you're actually seeing and why it is note-worthy. Why don't you go to the mall with all the light pollution.
I do not suffer religious types well.
Jay came over and shared the moment with me; it was great father-son time. The conversation was intelligent. Jupiter and his father, Saturnus, looked wonderful together, sporting their moons and rings.
Sunday, 20 December 2020: Cooper in Charlottesville
E and A came in yesterday to drop off Cooper as they head to DC to see A's family. Coop will stay with us until Christmas day, when they will return for our family Christmas. I took him for a walk just before they left; it helps him get over the separation anxiety.
Today I took him for one of my long walks and it was fun to have him along.
The sky was cloudy last night and tonight, making seeing the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter impossible. I had high hopes, taking my telescope out, sighting in the spotting scope, and waiting. After a while, I couldn't even see the Moon.
Maybe tomorrow night.
Wednesday, 16 December 2020: Icy
Today is not the kind of day that anyone in their right mind would want to leave the house. It has been drizzling freezing rain all day. The poor linemen must be suffering. For fun, Kady and I dug into the second box from Hunt-a-killer, which turned out to be too easy. We'll do the third box, already at the house, tomorrow.
I began watching The Expanse Season Five today. I'm glad it's back. Great Show. A couple of my other shows have new seasons out, Blue Bloods and Virgin River, and I'm loving The Mandalorian. I just watched Ava and Peppermint, both decent girl assassin movies, though not Red Sparrow quality.
I've been doing a little gleaning, cleaning out drawers, throwing out things I haven't used in a long while. The trip to Kansas was good for that. I took a lot of extra stuff that I didn't use and understand , now, that, if I didn't use it there, I didn't need it.
The Hutch is retiring fromMI tomorrow. His ceremony going to be a small, family-only gathering to comply with the governor's guidelines, so I won't get to wish him well in person. Too Bad. There is no one around that place I like more. I certainly hope to be at Gary's and Holly's. Virgie's. Bill's.
Sunday, 13 December 2020: Malzon Fired
Auburn fired Malzahn today. They owe him $10.85 Million in the next thirty days and will ultimately pay him $21.7 Million. Crazy!
Please Auburn, find somebody good. Stop the madness.
Saturday, 12 December 2020: The No One Gives a Shit game of the Week
God! I hope Auburn does not go to a bowl game. If I have to watch another uninspired game like last night this season, it may just be a deal breaker, and that is how AU plays bowl games under Malzon . . . uninspired. You could tell no one but Tank Bixby gave a care, on either team. Gus looked more interested in pulling up his pants, which he did the whole night, than he did coaching, inspiring, or winning.
May I suggest some suspenders?
We went to Jay-ans-KS's house for dinner before the game. KS made her delicious white chicken chili and cornbread muffins, a family fave, and then we ordered dessert from Auntie Annie's Pretzels. We had Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Nuggets and Hot Chocolate Frosts. Hokey-Smokes Bullwinkle! If you have a Annie's near you, go get that!
Thursday, 10 December 2020: Walking and Driving
After breakfast, I watching the SpaceX Starship launch and subsequent crash landing. During the launch, I noticed that they shut down one of the engines and and then another. This first engine was the only one that fired up for landing. Maybe that was the plan, but it didn't have enough thrust to slow the descent; Starship came in too fast. I could see the crash coming. Too Bad.
I went for my first long walk this morning, taking my route around the neighborhood, past the lakes, detouring into Jay's neighborhood to see if I could see the grandkids. Duh. The were in school, but had a quick chat, across their front yard, with KS. When I got home, after a bit of lunch, Kady wanted to go for a walk, so I went back out with her.
THEN, I went for a drive in Bess. I love my car. I drove to Somerset and back to Highway-29 and, then, home. I didn't push it, just took it easy and listened to the car.
To end the day, Kady and I curled up on the couch for movie night.
Wednesday, 9 December 2020: A Different Bess
Yeah, it hurt, it was a big chunk-of-change, but Bess drives so much better. I guess the wear was so gradual over fifteen years that I didn't notice the change. She is much more responsive and smooth this morning.
Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to me. That's all I'm getting.
Tuesday, 8 December, 2020: Lower Ball Joints
Bess didn't pass inspection this morning, because the lower ball joints are worn out. Ouch. It's going to hurt.
Sunday, 6 December 2020: Thirty-Nine Years
Thirty-nine years with the same woman and every day has been wonderful.
I met Kady at the door to the War Room when she got up. Scared the heck out of her when I jerked open the door. I wanted to be the first to say, "Happy Anniversary." She wanted to tell me she was going shopping.
We went for a nice lunch at our favorite place and came straight back home for Cards. My Kind of day.
Saturday, 5 December 2020: So Close
Auburn! You played well. Next year, you'll be bigger, stronger and faster. I'm going to look forward to that rather than dwell on a year that won't count anyway.
Friday, 4 December 2020: Nothing is Ever Easy
Today was Bess maintenance day. The only thing I had to do was charge or change the battery. That's easy, right? Take it out, put it in the Fusion, take it to Advanced Auto Parts.
The problem was that the mounting bolt holding the battery in place was frozen. I sprayed it with WD-40, let it soak, and tried again.
Yep, broke it. I had to drill around it to get the battery out.
Once out, an hour later, I took it to the auto parts place and tested it.
New Battery in hand, I hurried home, installed the battery, figured out a way to secure it in place, and then took Bess for a drive.
Next is a State Inspection, which was due last February. COVID. 2020.
Last night, I helped Kady put up the new tree, then hurt my arm and ran away. This morning, it was already looking good and she has been working on it all day. She let me hang my ornaments and found my Airborne Santa, my stocking, and my stuffed Opustmus. I tried to take a photo of the tree decorating in progress but she ran me off. Maybe tomorrow.
Wednesday, 2 December, 2020: Home
We're home. The third leg was easy except for the traffic. There was a bit of a slow-down just past Beckley, but, otherwise, the flow was good. Once we were past White Sulphur Springs, it was like we were the only car on the road. Interstate 81 was Normal.
The car is unpacked. Now, the unpacking begins. Today, I'll go get Breakfast since there is no food in the house. We agreed on Hardees. Next, I'll go to Wal-Mart for grocery pick-up.
Sleeping in my own bed was great last night. I opened the windows for the fresh cold air, and threw on another blanket. I was pretty cozy.
Bess'es battery is drained, so I'll go get a slow charge put on it this afternoon and set up an appointment for a state inspection. Jay delivered all of our Christmas stuff, so we'll begin (read: Kim will) begin putting up the tree and decorations. My part will be to stay out of her way and to put away the boxes when empty.
Tuesday, 1 December 2020: The Trip Home, Phase II Complete
We left Mt. Vernon this morning about 11 am. Sleeping-in was so nice. Traffic was light through Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, so we got to West Virginia just as the sun was going down. The weather was cool and overcast most of the trip and there was a bit of snow on the ground in Kentucky. The roads were clear. We stopped in Barboursville, WV for the night, leaving less than five hours for our trip tomorrow.
Monday, 1 December 2020: Phase I Complete
We left Manhattan about 9 am this morning, after I shoved the last remaining stuff into the little spaces in the car. I woke up at 4 am, made some breakfast, gt dressed, and then took a nap waiting on Kady. She did a great job getting out of the house.
We drove a little over six hours today, stopping in Mt. Vernon, IL. It was an easy drive.
We'll do two more legs to get home.
Sunday, 29 November, 2020: Goodbye To You
Kady and I are headed home to Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge Mountains, tomorrow. It's way past time. Five months away from my happy-space and my things has been Too Long. We're planning on a three day trip, arriving Wednesday. We'll drive the hardest part first, through Kansas City and Saint Louis, Resting Over Night (RON) in Mount Vernon, Illinois. We'll stop Tuesday night in Huntington, West Virginia.
I hope to write at night as we go.
I took Coop on our last walk today. He's been the bright spot these past months. Though I don't care for this place, I enjoy our walks. Today, I let him take me wherever he wanted to go, always an adventure. We went down Little Kitten, across Kimball, and turned right on Plymouth. He kept going and I had no idea where we were. He did. A few blocks later and I realized he was headed for the Dog Park. Smart Boy. I didn't mind. Thiugh the wind was howling and the weather cold and overcast, I had dressed for it. I let him do all the sniffing he would do. It was my goodbye present.
I'll get a week with him in Virginia around Christmas.
Saturday was the Iron Bowl. It was ugly though not unexpected. AU has made great strides since the beginning of the season and is a much batter team. UA, on the other hand, has been a great team from the start and has gotten better with each week. I don't think there is a team in the nation who can touch them. Still, I was hoping for better than 42 - 13.
Friday, I packed all the things in the car that we don't need for the weekend and probably didn't need at all. The Fusion is Maxed Out. Over this five months I've found that all I wear is jeans, shorts, and t-shirts. I need only my flip-flops, and a pair of running shoes for footgear, and my workout clothes. When we come back in April, for the birth of Savannah, I'm packing light, really light.
Wednesday, 25 November 2020: Carey
I found out, today, that my old friend from school days, Carey Martin died on 7 November.
Carey was an important part of my young life. We lived on the same block in Wahouma, went to the same grammar school and high school, were Warbler's together, and toured together with the 66th Street Baptist Youth Choir. Our families, displaced by the highway, moved within blocks of each other in Huffman.
Cary and I rode to and from school together, in his 1969 Oldsmobile Delta 88, 455 Rocket, for two years so we could continue attending Woodlawn. We double-dated to games, movies, and events from the time we could drive until we graduated. One of my favorite memories was Camping at Wind Creek during the summer of 1969, where we hung out with two Mortimer-Jordan girls, Yvonne and Tootie. There was so much more.
He could have been a Woodlawn football star, but chose Youth Choir Tour over the team when our coach made him choose.
Then, of course, time, age, and geography took control, but we ran into each other on and off. The guy never changed.
He was the nicest guy. Everyone loved Carey.
Tuesday, 24 November 2020: SSDD
Today was only remarkable for my Walmart grocery pick-up for Thanksgiving stuff and for watching Silverado for the umpteenth time. Five and a Wake-up.
Music: Simon and Garfunkle
Sunday, 23 November, 2020: Feeling Good
For the last two days, I've felt great, the best I've felt in a week. Not counting my arm, I'd say, I'm 100%. My arm continues to improve.
The Auburn game against Tennessee helped a lot. It was good to have the team back on TV and I liked their performance, Tennessee, a team I've always liked, played hard, but the One-hundred-yard Pick Six by Smoke Monday broke their will. Missing two field goals didn't help them nor did letting Anthony Schwartz get behind their secondary for a bomb from Bo Nix. Our Running backs did well, taking up the slack when Tank Bisgby injured his hip in the first quarter. Their running back, Eric Gray, was amazing, one of the best I have ever seen. It could have easily gone the other way.
This morning I tool Cooper for a good walk and we had a good time. The weather was cool and clear, Beautiful really.
Today, A disassembled his old computer and cannibalized it for my server, which Jay and I plan on working on together, a father-and-son project. He gave me the mother board, CPU, power supply, and RAM. Jay and I will use my case, hard drives, and Kady's M.2 Stick to add to these components. It should work. A jus saved me about
I'm almost done with
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
. It has been a history lesson and a great study of 19th-Century Chicago. I like this guys writing style and the way he sets up a scene for future information. Too bad The White City no longer exists, but, still, I've added Jackson Park to my bucket list. The ending for the fair was a sad thing, the book's ending, marvelous.
Next is Ghost Wars by Steve Coll.
Friday, 20 November 2020: The Death Burger
One of the symptoms of COVID is an upset stomach and nausea and for the last two nights, I had that, in painful amounts. However, I don't think that it was COVID. I was feeling great all day Thursday, all of my symptoms had subsided, so much so that I began snacking. I ate all kinds of junk, two ice-cream treats, Eggs and Grits, some Gummy Bears, two bowls of Fruit Loops, and still felt fine. Then I had a burger, cooked out on the grill, and BOOM! My stomach revolted.
This happens to me sporadically. I'll eat something that doesn't agree with me and I'm down for the count. The first time I remember getting this, was after eating a carnitas burrito while on a Trap and Skeet Trip, the next, also on a T&S Trip, after eating a steak cooked on a grill at the range. I thought I was going to have to call an ambulance both of those times. It hit me here at the end of July but it wasn't as bad.
Thursday night was terrible but I felt better by Friday morning. I ate reasonably and felt OK, then ate a big cookie from Panera and a slice of Kim's pizza. Mistake. Last night wasn't as bad but was still painful and restless.
So. Today I have had a banana, some scrambled eggs, and an English muffin. And I'm starving.
I'm drinking lots of water to stave off the hunger.
My arm is feeling better. I talked to Bee about it and she said to move it, but no sharp pain. Since talking to her, I've begun, carefully, moving my arm in it's normal range of motion, three times a day, stopping if it begins to hurt, achieving a little more range each time. I can already feel the difference. It is less painful.
I got nice surprise from SS and Kady; They are thinking they may want to go back to the Keys. Maybe they just SAID they were thinking on it to make me feel better but I'll hold on to that "maybe." I have a plan: Send Kady to Tennessee to go with SS to travel to Marathon and meet them there in Bess.
Bess wants to go to The Keys. I'd like to cruse Highway 1 to Key West from Marathon on about three trips and see all the things I missed last time. Take my Bike (needs a name). Maybe I'll get a room on Cayo Hueso for a couple or three of nights so I can wander the bars, visit the cigar and rum factories, see the night life, watch the sunset from Mallory Point . . . I have a long list.
Wednesday, 18 November 2020: Tick, Tick, Tick, . . .
Does is feel like you haven't the time to accomplish what you want? Does it feel like time is slipping away? Does one day feel like the next?
Well, Let me fix that for you. I have a tried and true method of stopping the clock.
First: Make travel plans. Let's say you've been some place you really don't like, some place like . . .hummmm . . . I don't know . . . Kansas. Yeah, Kansas is a good example. Let's make your destination someplace like, uh, Your Home, in, uh, Virginia! Yeah, Virginia sounds nice.
Now: Pack up all your shit and be ready to go.
Next: Catch a cold, flu, or something like that, to effectively cancel your plans.
How do I know this, you ask?
Well, that is exactly what happened to me.
What's today? Wednesday? I thought it was Friday.
We were packing for a Monday departure Last Friday, when the kids were diagnosed. The positive results meant a two week quarantine, so, our new departure date is Monday, 30 November. That's a couple of days after our quarantine ends, but we don't want to miss the Iron Bowl.
I refuse to unpack. That leaves me with my laptop, my phone, and a book with which to spend my days. My Days are Dragging By. This week has felt like my last semester at That Place.
No Walks for the last two days. The sky has been clear and the temperatures mild, but the wind has been howling. Today they reached 30 MPH.
Monday, 15 November 2020: Self-Assessing
Kady and I are watching each other and, so far, our symptoms, if they ARE symptoms are mild. We taking our temperature twice daily. She feels better than yesterday and I do as well. Both of the Kids feel better today.
I'm continuing to walk and fast, but Fruit Loops have become a craving. I was doing so well, too. Ice-cream, Fruit Loops, Captain Crunch, and Tacos have become what we call Crisis Food. Everyone chose one.
I just found Harry's Game on YouTube. I watched it for the first time in Cyprus with the lads from 1 Para. It's a good period movie about a Brit officer, Captain, Fusilier, sent to infiltrate the Provos hunting for the assassin of a government minister in London. The lads told me that it is one of the most accurate depictions of their experience in Ireland. If you're a Clannad fan, this is where their song Harry's Game got its name. I'm watching it tomorrow.
Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be nice, in the 70s, so Kady and I are planning a walk. Fresh Air and Vitamin D may be the best medicine.
Saturday, 14 November 2020: All Together Now
Kady was exhibiting mild symptoms last night and I have them today. The plan now is to quarantine in place until the 27th, watch the Iron Bowl on the 28th, and then head home.
Everyone is in good spirits. Kady is feeling it in her back, has a slight headache, and says she feels a little loopy in the head. As for me, I woke up soaked in sweat night before last, had a slight headache last night, and have body aches like the flu. So far, no one is having coughs or trouble breathing.
I felt well enough to walk 6 miles this morning. The weather was gorgeous.
Friday, 13 November 2020: COVID
And So. A and E have tested positive for COVID. Certainly, we have been exposed too. This changes our plans. Though, I would leave now and weather the storm in Virginia, with UVA medical on hand, that's not smart for the community at large. We also don't want to leave A and a pregnant E to deal with it all alone.
Parents normally put themselves at risk for their kids, right?
My biggest concern is Kady.
We're discussing options.
Thursday, 12 November 2020: Ohh-Na-Na
This morning, we found out that the baby will be a girl. The prospective name for this little person on my site will be "SGM."
A little girl! I win.
Wednesday, 11 November 2020: Things I've Learned From Cooper, a Translation
As I begin getting ready move back East, to Home, to Virginia, and to my stuff, I am most aware that I'm leaving one of my best friends behind. I thought today, I'd share what Cooper has given me.
When Cooper ___ , he's saying:
Barks at everything = Protect the ones you love.
Greets you like he hasn't seen you in years, everytime he sees you = Love your people with all your energy.
Scoops up Grasshoppers and Coyote Poo = Not everything that smells awesome tastes great.
Chases Small Animals = Never quit, always try.
Sniffs everything on walks = Exercise every day, but take time to appreciate your surroundings.
Hits the floor with a thud = When you can, Nap.
Chases the ball at full speed = Play hard.
Flirts with every girl he meets = Girls are the best.
Gives you "That Look" around suppertime = It never hurts to ask.
Lays his paw on you leg = Let your loved ones know when you need attention.
Gathers Toys on his Bed = Create a space that is all yours.
His rgoofy reaction to being recgonized as a Golden-Doodle = Know you're special.
Looses his Puppy Brain = You're never too old.
Yeah, I know it's Veteran's Day. I wished all my Vets a happy day via Text and took Face Book down all day so I didn't have to deal with all the "Thank you for your service" stuff. I'm not the guy who goes to Applebees for a freebie. I don't want thanks for doing my duty.
Monday, 9 November 2020: Coming Together Nicely
We got more happy news today. It seems, right now, that E and A will be moving East this summer, probably living in the Frederick Maryland or DC area. Both were first picks for their preferred next jobs, and both will be going to top-notch assignments in their field.
For Kady and me, Frederick is only two-and-a-half hours from Charlottesville. We will be able to drive up to visit my kids, grandbaby, and Cooper any time I please. And, there are battlefields up there. Hell, I will be able to take Cooper to battlefields and be home for supper.
Sunday, 8 November 2020: OK, Nebraska
I really liked Lincoln. The drive there looked the same and I saw no difference in the landscapes of Kansas and Nebraska, but Lincoln was cool. The area we were in was very nice, lots of shops and cafes, close to the University Campus. It was super clean and well-kept. The people were nice and I saw more beautiful girls in one night there than I've seen the whole time in Manhattan. It seems as if Girls are blonde in Nebraska.
We ate at Mellow Mushroom as planned, but waited until after the Nebraska game was over, being shown in the street outside on a huge TV, watched by a huge and rowdy crowd. They Lost. To Northwestern. I let my people talk me into a different pizza than I usually get. It was OK.
Finally, the results were in tonight and we get to have a sane President for at least the next four years.
Our hotel, the Graduate, was nice, one of the bet hotels I've in which I've stayed in a while. The bed and pillows were great, the room clean and spacious, the curtains thick and light-blocking, The decorations very Nebraska and interesting, and the Wi-Fi was easily connected, though a little slow, 150 Mbps. The only thing I didn't like was the water saving showerhead, a big Thing with me. For that price, I want a real shower and not have to run around in circles to rinse off.
Kady and I went for Mex after we got back to Manhattan.
It seems the momma's boy in the White House is still throwing a cereal-isle fit and refusing to concede the election, while Joe is showing a lot of class and saying all the right things. His victory speech was marvelous. What a Change! What Big Words!
He had me at "Science."
My arm is better.
I'm not sure how it happened, buy Kady and I are headed home on 22 November and we're all going to be in Charlottesville for Christmas. I tried to act nonchalant about the decision, but everyone saw right through me. I feel like cheering!
Music: My Favorites because I'm stuck in the late 60's and early 70's.
Saturday, 7 November 2020: The Missing Alfredo
E asked me, "What do you want for supper, Daddy?"
"Olive Garden," I said, without a moments hesitation.
I had been thinking about Olive Garden's Chicken Alfredo for days, since Kady and I went to get our Flu Shots at Hy-Vee, which is just next door to the restaurant. For a change, I won. We ordered and had it delivered, or A picked it up, I don't know.
I didn't want it for supper, I'm trying to get back on my routine, but wanted to save it until the next day and reheat it for lunch. I did eat my salad and my slice of Black Tie Mousse Cake. I did take a couple of bites of the Alfredo, but closed it up, and asked Kady to put it in the fridge for me.
This morning, when I got up, the first thing on my mind was Lunch and how great my Chicken Alfredo was going to be. I was so excited, I decided to go ahead and eat at 10 am.
It was gone.
A friend of E and A's came over last night, mentioned he was hungry, and Kady offered up my food, or that's the story I got. Not Nice Kady! I'm not sure if E was being absolutely truthful in her version of the story.
Ah Well, today we're off to Lincoln Nebraska (two hours away, not four as previously mentioned, which shoots a huge hole in my plan for In-N-Out) for Mellow Mushroom. That may make up for the missing Alfredo.
Wednesday, 4 November 2020: Just What We Didn't Need
I gave up last night, tired of hearing Schmedlap say, "Too Early To Call," went to sleep, hoping to wake this morning to a decision either way.
What I think we needed was a decisive victory either way, but . . . well . . . you know . . . 2020. All of this delay, the sheer weight of mail-in ballots, the lack of urgency on the part of some states, the absolute need to count every vote, those "calls "made too early by some news outlets, the President's normal shenanigans, and the close race that it turned into, will only serve to fester the division between sides.
What we have here is a Big Old American Mess.
Once it all shakes out, I think we'll be looking at the best possible outcome - Trump out of the White House, replaced by a decent, moderate Biden, Republican control of the senate, weakening of the Democratic control of the House, and a clear statement by Trump supporters about the current direction of the nation. This is far better than the scenario I anticipated in my 6 September Post.
My only real disappointment this morning, was finding out that AOC and her "squad' were reelected by large margins. America needs to fix that issue next election.
The end-state may be days or weeks away, so, I'm going to turn off the news and get some kip, the best way to deal with this bull-shit.
Tuesday, 3 November 2020: Election Day
As everyone knows, today is election day. The gloom and doom, sensationalist news is all aflutter. The "what-ifs" abound. What if it's close? What if Trump wins? What if Biden wins?
I think I'm going to wait and see, just like everyone else in the country, regardless of your political leanings, will have to do, but I know that, by the end of the evening, about half the country's population is not going to be happy.
I think I'll go for a long walk . . . with Kady.
Cooper's mom had a Mental Health day at work, sports and such, so she took Coop with her. Her attitude is: Pregnant Girls don't play sports. Actually, she hates playing sports so this is her best excuse ever. This all started when I threw her a softball and it hit her in the face. She missed it, but I got the blame. Way To Go Dad! She and Cooper will walk the track as everyone else plays games. I imagine the boy is enjoying tons of attention about now.
Kady and I went for Flu Shots yesterday. My position was: We haven't had the flu since VMI and haven't caught COVID. If we're doing all the things to dodge COVID, mask, hand washing, don't touch the face, distancing, and sheltering when possible, then we're not going to get the Flu either. Kady's Position was: It's free, takes little time, we're old (I'm Older) and it won't hurt. I acquiesced, thinking, "No Skin off My Nose." I knew that if I didn't get the shot and got the flu, I'd get zero pity and if SHE got the flu, I might not survive. I assume my death would be included in the Flu Death statistics even though it was an indirect result.
We went to Hy-Vee, it was uncrowded and fast. We were in-and-out in 20 minutes. Hummmm. I want some In-N-Out Burgers! Only 7-hours away. The way I see it, if we can drive four hours to Lincoln, Nebraska, which we're doing on Saturday for Mellow Mushroom, we can go three more hours to Denver for burgers.
Kady and I went for that walk and the conversation was lively. We went to Frank Anneburg Park, her favorite place and a great park. The walking trail is 1.7-miles around and we did two laps. The weather was perfect, though a little breezy, the warmest day we've had in a while. We got back about the time E and Cooper did. For lunch, I had Kady's Chili, the best chili on the planet.
Tomorrow, I think I'll stroll around old downtown Manhattan, called Aggieville, and look for decent street photos. Can't hurt.
Tonight: Cat Stevens, because I'm Miles from Nowhere drinking Irish Mist.
Sunday, 1 November 2020: A Very Short Camping Trip
Once we arrived at Tuttle Creek, we set up the camp site. I helped when I could, but strained my arm again trying to help A move the picnic table. That made for a restless night. Once set-up was done, I started a nice fire and we watched Scream, outside. I had forgotten how funny that movie is.
We all slept in Saturday morning. It was cool out and the wind was howling. Once I was dressed, I ate a bowl of Fruit Loops, my favorite camping breakfast, and took Cooper for a walk. We had to wait a while as there was a foot race in the park and I didn't want to get in the way of the runners. Once the crowd thinned-out, Coop and I left, taking the south trail that runs along the river. Though the wind was blowing pretty hard, it was nice out. On our walk, I found a nice little one-person beach by the river. If we go back this park in warm weather, that is where I'm spending my days.
Reminder: Bring Camp Recliner
I'm not sure what happened while I was gone, but I got a text from Kady saying, "Come back; we are leaving."
OK with me!
By the time Cooper and I got back to the RV, poo completed, they were almost ready to go. We were home by noon, in time for us to watch football, for me to catch up with Vicki, and to watch S2:E1 of the Mandalorian.
I was dreading the LSU Game. Two weeks ago, South Carolina beat Auburn. Last week, LSU completely destroyed South Carolina. I was ready for an ass whipping, but Auburn came out smoking on Offense and Defense. The Team did everything right and shut down LSU on both sides of the ball. Amazing! Happy!
I iced my arm last night and got a good night sleep, which I wouldn't have done out camping. I got up this morning feeling rested and my shoulder felt much better (I'm typing with two hands again).
Happy News: E is pregnant with my third grandchild. All her tests look good and we should have the genetic blood work back in two weeks telling us what we'll get. I'm hoping for a girl, which E says will be names Savannah Gray, initials - SGM. I love that. The prospective boy's name is good too, but I just can't wait to call a grandbaby "Saaaavannnnahhhhhh." If you're a Key West TV Show fan, you'll get that reference.
I linked up with DJ for a morning Video Coffee this morning. That was fun. Cooper went for a long walk today. He was amazing, walking right by my left side the whole way. He is such a good boy.
Friday, 30 October 2020: Past-Life Invasion
I spent Wednesday, Mad. I was mad at The Governor, at Virginia Democrats, at the VMI Board of Visitors, at young Alumni, and at just about everyone who might have been involved in the forced resignation of the General. I woke up yesterday wondering how I let VMI and it's drama get back into my life.
I don't care. I'm done with that shit! I don't do mad . . . anymore.
Oh, people loved my posts and photos on Facebook, and it was like I mattered again, or it gave me that feeling. Facebook approbation is so addicting.
Well, I took all that shit down and posted photos of Cooper and Flowers. I felt better. VMI can deal with their own problems. I have my wonderful, serene, and happy life to lead and VMI won't invade it again.
The kids finished up with a doctor's appointment, yesterday, in time for lunch. They picked us up and took us to El Tapatio. I like that place. Afterward, we called Al and Barb in Minnesota, and then I took Cooper for a walk. It was a struggle. I didn't realize how sore I was from the fall until I did some sustained exercise. I ache all over.
When we reached the lake, there were close to a hundred Redhead Ducks paddling around on the far side. I went back with my camera and stalked them to get some good photos. What I need is a very long and fast telephoto lens for nature stuff. This morning, about forty Geese had joined the ducks.
My arm is getting better and I can at least raise it enough to hit the shift button. I'm one-hand and one-finger typing, otherwise. It seems I've slipped back into double-spacing after sentences. That's OK; I like it better.
We're going to Tuttle Creek for the weekend, again. The weather looks like it's going to be nice, so I'm looking forward to it. I'm going light this time, no camera, no computer, just my cell, and a book. Walking Cooper and starting the fire are my only jobs. The plan is to watch Halloween movies, after football.
Music Today: CS&N
Monday, 26 October 2020: A Dusting of Snow
Our winter weather advisory for Manhattan turned out to be a dusting of snow that didn't even cver the grass. Kady's Fusion is covered with about a quarer of an inch. This is my kind of snow.
The kids went back to work this morning after a late reporting time issued for Post. I cleaned up the kitchen after they left and then made a Espresso in the Nespresso. That's a cold weather thing. I went to the coffee shop most cold mornings in Film City for an Espresso while I was in Kosovo back in 2000-2001. It helped me break up my boring and lonely days. I'd usually invite one or two folks to meet me there. Those were good times.
A little after 11 am, I got a text from a Rat mom, one of my soldiers in Kosovo, about General Peay resigning at the request of Northam. I'm fuckin Pissed Off! Northam is a PUTZ! He's a windvane blown by every new political idea out there. The guy who dressed up in black-face in medical school wants to preach to us about racism and challenge the leadership of a 4-star general. PUTZ!
Later, while walking Cooper, I slipped on an icy patch and fell on my back and shoulder. I was hurt but jumped right up before someone saw me, stopped, and asked, "are you ok, little old man?" I turned Cooper around and headed home. My shoulder was wrecked.
When the A got home, he went and got me a sling and an ice pack. When A got home, we went on post to the emergency room. A few x-rays later and the doc said I had nothing dislocated or broken. He suggested I take something for pain and keep my arm in a sling for a while . . . five days. Sleep this night was fitful.
Music Today: Sleeping at Last
Saturday, 24 October, 2020: Birthdays
Today, we celebrated the birthdays of A and Cooper since they were all seperated during the FTX in California. Elise made cakes for both. Her pound cake for A was delicious and Cooper thought his pumpkin and applesauce cake was fantastic.
Auburn played Old Miss in Oxford and, yeah, the ball hit Shivers pinky finger on his left hand. It should have been a Mississippi touchdown, but it wasn't called that way and you Old Miss fans can stop whining now. There are bad calls in every ball game; that is part of the game. Don't forget: Old Miss would have kicked off to Auburn right after that and their defense had real issues stopping Auburn. That touchdown would not necessarily have decided the game.
It's cold here. It has been in the 30s most of the day and tomorrow we may get snow. The youngsters in the house wanted to go do a spooky corn mase last night. I balked. They couldn't make a decision and when they asked me if I wanted to go, my quick "Nope" seemed to seal the deal.
Music Today: Fleetwood Mac because Stevie Nicks is my girl, that's why. Seventy-two and still a goddess.
Friday through Sunday, 16 - 18 October 2020: RVing
We left this afternoon for Kanopolis State Park, a little west of here. For the time of year, it was pretty crowded, but the people were nice and most everyone was quiet. The facilities were old and a little run down, but clean. Kansas isn't spending money on this park. The RV spots had water and power, but no sewage.
Before it got dark, I took my camera down to the lake for a few photos. They have a beach there, but it was disserted, reminding me of the defunct youth or family camp. The volleyball net was in tatters and there was an old firehouse that I think they used to mark the swimming area strung half in the water and half on the beach. The water was down, so I tried picturing the place in summer, water up, and people everywhere. I wish I had known about this in June and July. I need a beach. I had a nice walk.
A brought his hotspot from work, his computer, and a big TV so we could watch Auburn at South Carolina. The wind was gusting all morning so we had to bungee it all down to keep it from blowing away, but it all worked gloriously. Auburn came out storming and moved ahead by seventeen points, but SC figured us out by the second half, closely covering our receivers and waiting for Bo to make mistakes, which he did. They scored after three interceptions. #2020 *2020/COVID
After the game, we drove up the lake to Horsethief Canyon, a beautiful area of sandstone cliffs. I grabbed a map at the trailhead and began following it, but had to contend with Major E, the signal officer who knew better than the map and the Parachute Infantry Scout in the group. It took walking into a box canyon with a climb too tough for Cooper for her to listen to me. My favorite part was when she tried to claim we were both correct. Of course, I think I was MORE right. The family hike dynamic is always a little like the Blair Witch Project. Neels!
Surviving that, we drove to another park, not much really, but worth seeing, Mushroom State Park. There are rock formations there that look just like mushrooms, concretions sitting on top of eroded limestone pillars. Pretty Cool, actually. I, also, photographed an old windmill there. I've been wanting to do that.
When we got back to camp, I took Cooper for a walk and then stated the fire. We all watched Georgia at Alabama by firelight. Georgia showed how good they were, making me feel better about AU's loss to them, and played Bama well. Bama became Bama again in the second half and turned on the juice. Damn, they are a good team!
We got up late Sunday morning because it was freezing outside. The wind was hawking and almost blew me off of the hill when I took Coop for his walk. By the time he and I got back to camp, A had everything ready for departure.
Once we got back, we all pitched in unloading the RV and Atlas. I checked to see if anyone wanted to shower first. Nope. Great! I hit the shower and then put all my stuff in the washer first.
Clean-up done, I settled in my room for the night and was in bed by seven. I do not sleep well out there.
Thursday, 16 October 2020: Cooper and Podcast Changes
Since the return of E and then A, Cooper has balked when I've tried to take him walking. He'll readily go the 25-yards to his pee place but then wants to go immediately back to the house. I think this is because he is afraid they will leave again.
I've been getting some nice long walks in as a result. I've been listening to Radiolab, where I heard about a new podcast,
Blindspot: Road to 9/11
, which I highly recommend. I'm almost finished with it . . . two more walks, probably.
This morning, Cooper was ready to go walk when I went to leave the house on mine. I told his parents that I'd try, but was not going to drag him. He looked at them as if asking permission and they told him it was "ok" and said they'd be there when he got back.
It was like magic. He was his old self on our walk and I was able to listen to my podcast. His changed attitude may also be the cold outside and his new haircut. He's probably ten pounds lighter and thinks he is adorable.
Kady and I are deep into our next case on Hunt-a-Killer. I love this stuff. This time, the lead singer of an '80's boy band has died under suspicious circumstances. Our job, sorting through the case files, is to, first, prove it was a murder and then catch the killer.
Monday, 12 October 2020: Kansas City and Back
I took Jay and KS back to the airport this morning and drove back this afternoon. I wanted to stop and see the Combat Air Museum in Topika, but missed the turn and didn't care enough to turn around. It looks good on-line though. I'll go back before I leave KS, though I'll be back in May.
Tomorrow I begin my recovery from the massive amounts of bad food I had this weekend. I'm getting up at 6 for a long walk. I'm beinning my fast Now! I refuse to weigh until Next Monday.
Sunday, 11 October 2020: No Walk, Tennis, Biscuits, and Football
Our family dynamic is nuts right now.
I had one thing I wanted to do with Jay and KS while they were here - go for a walk in the prairie. I initially wanted to go to Kanza. I asked, well before they got here if they'd like to go; they sounded interested. I told Kady, E, and A. They jumped on the bandwagon, talking about a family trip, which needed to be changed to include Cooper. We chose Top of the World.
Last night, it all fell apart. E wasn't feeling well enough to go. Kim said, "Tennis!" Jay said, "Oh Yeah, Tennis!" KS was under the weather yesterday. I chose to sleep in and do Cooper things.
We planned to get biscuits from Guilty Biscuit for Breakfast, so nobody ate this morning, waiting on E to get up. She finally came downstairs about 10:15 and ate a bowl of cereal. Great.
Everyone else immediately ordered biscuits.
My biscuit was good. It had a biscuit top, a pancake bottom, a big chunk of fried chicken, two slices of bacon, and gravy. It was a lot of food and Kady gave me about a quarter of hers. I was stuffed and felt very guilty. I'm back on my meal plan starting now.
Once Nadal had won, they started talking about walking again. This, of course, was after I my shower so I didn't say a thing; I didn't even listen. I don't think there was a consensus.
Most of the afternoon was spent napping, everyone glad to have some alone time. It struck me: Jay and KS flew all the way here just to have no responsibilities, A and E took Cooper to their room with them, happy to be together, and Kady and I just did our thing. It was relaxing.
Saturday, 10 Octber 2020, Jay and KS Visit
Jay and KS flew in for the weekend. I drove the KCI Friday morning, getting to the cell phone lot before noon. They landed a few minutes early and I picked them up about 12:20. We stopped for lunch on the way back and had two hours of great conversation on the way to Manhattan.
I went to Ft. Riley Recycling Center (it wasn't much) with E to empty her car and then went for gas. She picked A up at the Manhattan airport a little after 10 pm.
This morning, we all piles in E's Atlas, a great vehicle with so much room, and drove to get pre-ordered Pancakes supporting the Flint Hills Chapter of Girls on the Run and then drove to Public Hall for coffee. Next ,we all settled in for NCAA Football.
Cooper refused to walk with me today, Mom and Dad both being home. I'm OK with that.
The Auburn game was hard to watch. They found a way to win but it wasn't pretty. Arkansas outplayed them. We're going to have to get it together before next week against South Carolina.
Music: 100 Greatest '60s Rock Songs on Amazon Music, because that was the golden age of all music . . . except for the Beatles; I skipped every one of their BS teenybopper songs.
Tuesday 6 October 2020: Glorious Sleep
Coop slept in E's room last night and I slept until almost 8 am, undisturbed. There was no creepy puppy stairing at me as I slept, no early morning "Ruffs," and no having to say, "Go Lay Down Buddy." At 9 am, I, still, hadn't seen them.
Music: Katie Garfield, Again, Back on her Throne.
Monday, 5 October 2020: E is Back
E got home from the National Training Center (NTC) tonight. I know she is happy that shit is done. I picked her up at the airfield and then we drove around to get her bag. Whe we got home, Cooper was beside himself with excitement. For her part, Kady made her universe-famous Chicken Enchaladas. It was a bit of a celebration, so I had two. So much for my 18-hour fast.
A should be home Saturday, the day after Jay and KS get here. It'll be a big weekend.
Sunday, 4 October 2020: The Game Lost in the Trenches*
It was ugly. Georgia trounced us. I hate Georgia, but I was not surprised. We couldn't run. We couldn't pass. We couldn't stop them from running. They were bigger and more experienced. They were equally as fast.
Our running backs all weigh just over 200 pounds. Hell, I weigh more than that.
Their front line, on both sides of the ball, blew our line out every play. The one play where our defense got to their QB, we pulled the coverage off of their number one receiver and blitzed from the side, leaving that receiver wide open. The same receiver caught a touchdown pass the next play.
Bo Nix looked like (ping, ping, ping) Ricochet Rabbit every pass play as the pocket collapsed as soon as the ball was snapped. Georgia gobbled up runs through the middle like Cooper eating breakfast. Our most effective receiver had an equally effective defenseman in his face all night. Our fastest guy didn't have time to break away, get open, or turn the end.
Our coaches and the team were shell-shocked. I wasn't. Seeing how they played last weekend against Kentucky, I knew we were going to get beaten, though I hoped we'd keep it close.
If this is an Auburn rebuilding year, I guess 2020 is a good year to do it. The whole year will have an asterisk beside all of the stats.
Friday, 2 October 2020: POTUS and FLOTIS have COVID-19
Yesterday, the news said that one of the President's closest advisors, Hope Hicks (who would be one of my closest advisors too if I were President - read: Babe!), has COVID.
Today the news says the President and First Lady have it. I'm sorry to hear that, though my first thought was, "How Convenient! An excuse for no more debates is good for you Donald."
I'm not concerned about the First Lady (I like her); she's young and healthy but the President is neither. At Seventy-four, he is in the age group of folks who should be sheltering in place, and I don't think he looks all that healthy. I'm preparing my mind for the worst.
What if Joe gets it? Hell. Joe is Seventy-seven! It is probible neither of these old white guys would survive. Wouldn't that be so like "2020?"
There is a lot of speculation in the news about what will happen when either side wins the election. Will there be a smooth transition of power if Biden wins? Will America burn if Trump wins? I see a much scarier scenario - if one or both candidates are hospitalized and not expected to survive after election day. Harris? Pence?
Then, there are the conspiracy theories which will pop up. Don't wait for the Russians Misinfromation Mill or QAnon, start your own. Here's Mine: By Any Means Necessary Dems seed White House with Covid.
It took me three walks and over four miles yesterday to get Cooper to be a Pooper. I'm not sure if he was being obstinate or simply not ready to go, but it totally blew my day . . . except for lunch, which was Sonic All-American Dogs, a larger order of Onion Rings (with salt and ketchup, Lynne), and a large Cheesecake Shake. Oh My!
Anyway, I'm making him wait until after 10 am today, and he's pouting.
Jay let me know yesterday that he couldn't do our weekly Virtual Coffee this morning and, next Friday, I'll be driving to Kansas City to pick them up. I told him to bring walking shoes and clothing.
I'm watching Away on Netflix. I think it's pretty good.
Wednesday, 30 September, 2020: SSDD
Things are the same around here. I eat the same things, do the same things, walk the same places . . .
That's going to change quickly. E and A are back soon, E in about four days, A in about a week. I could use the help with Cooper. I really want to sleep in and go for longer walks.
Happily, there is SEC Football now. Auburn played Kentucky well and looked pretty good, but next, this weekend, they play Georgia. Georgia will be a much tougher opponent; they handled Arkansas. Last weekend there were some surprises. LSU lost to Mississippi State. Wow. It's already a crazy year.
Something in this state is killing my sinuses. I have to wash my face about ten times a day and I'm using a lot of Visine Multi-Action. My post-operation Neilmed Nasal Rinse is coming in handy.
Chick-fil-a Mack-and-Cheese is a thing!
I drove to the old Manhattan Union Pacific Train Depot, a beautiful old building, well-maintained, and set up as a meeting space and wedding venue. Instead of preserving its original configuration, handicapped ramps, signs, and parking spaces have been added, which made photographing it a chore rather than a pleasure. Still, it was good to be out of the house with my camera.
Luckily, I took some photos with my phone because when I took the SD card out of my camera and inserted it into the card reader in my laptop, my laptop wouldn't recognize it. I ran a diagnostic and the driver is up-to-date, but the reader wasn't functioning. Researching on Newegg, the reader is part of the motherboard, so no chance to change it out. A shopping trip to Amazon later, and I have a USB reader on the way. It'll be here tomorrow.
This is the second issue with my laptop. It may be time to get a new one in the not too distant future.
Oh Yeah, the debate. What a show. How could either of these two ass-clowns have better proven my points from 6 September?
Joe was just lost in the sauce, searching for words, stumbling over them once flustered, and missing perfect opportunities to get at the President. I certainly liked Biden's demeanor a lot better, but sometimes, when being ridden by Trump like an old horse, he was or looked completely dumbfounded. He did a good job of looking in the Camera and talking to the American Pople; those were his best moments, but I would have used the same tactic when Trump was interruting to ask, "America, is this angry, out-of-control guy the one you want with his finger on the Nuclear Button?"
The Donald being his typical asshole, out of control self, was just angry from the start and spent the night doing more harm to himself than Biden ever could. I would have said, "Sir, this is a presidential debate, not a reality TV show." Maybe Joe could have used, "Once again we see, you just can't control yourself. Do we need to put you in Tme Out?" Or, "Take a deep cleansing breath, Don."
Maybe Joe needs me as his Quip Writer. Whatever, Joe needs to keep pushing Don's buttons until he starts slobbering on himself of has a cereal-aisle meltdown.
If America can't see that this guy has to go,
, then maybe we sane Yanks need to move to Canada.
Naw; it is so cold up there.
Tuesday, 22 September 2020: Walking with Kady
This morning, I took Kady up to Washington Marlett Park for a walk. She did not have a good time. I guess she's a sidewalk girl. "I like to go out and back."
Cooper and I had a great time.
We got some good news and bad news yesterday. E will be coming back from NTC later than first thought, around 4 October, still, before A. Otherwise, their plans are coming together nicely.
Monday, 21 September 2020: Uranus
Cooper and I were out before sunrise. The sky was clear so I opened my new star map app, Star Roam, and pointed it at Mars. I knew Uranus was in the Constellation Aries, but had I not known, this little app tells you right where to look. Yep. There it was, just a little dimmer than the star Aries. Too Easy.
So, Go outside tonight and look in the Southwest. The brightest light is Jupiter. To the left of Jupiter is Saturn. Good. Now, get your ass up in the morning about 5 am and go back outside. In the West, the brightest light is Mars, can't miss it, it's red. To the right and up a bit, you'll see two lights, one on top of the other, about a thumb's distance apart in the Constellation Aries (Google it). The one above is the star Aries and the one on bottom is Uranus. Now, do a right face. The really bright star in the Northeast is Venus.
If you don't know North from South, I use the Compass Galaxy app by Szymon Dyja. Another app I use is: Sun, Moon, and Planets by Harnisch Ges.
Congratulations. You've seen five Planets in less than 12 hours. You're welcome. Go Back to sleep.
After stargazing and feeding Cooper I settled in to watch the Simona vs. Pliskova final in Rome. Though completely on Team Halip, I was not happy to see Pliskova come out all taped up from an injury the day before. She withdrew after only nine games, winning only one, in the second set.
Music Today: Billy Joel, because we learned fast to travel light and went down together.
Sunday, 20 September 2020: On Aging
A few years back, I found out, after a long search, that an old girlfriend of my big bother, the closest thing I ever had to a sister, had died. I was saddened by that and that I did not look sooner but I'll forever remember her as she was at 18.
Likewise, when my old girlfriend from high school died, I was saddened by the loss, but the difference was, She and I had stayed in touch through the years. I watched her age and grow old before her time.
I know which I prefer. I have photos of both girls from that time and THAT is how I choose to remember them.
My little brother died at thirty-six. He will never grow old like Jim and I have. Of course, I wish that he had lived a good long life but I will always remember him as young.
Dad's passing in his late sixties was certainly preferable to the suffering Mom endured in her eighties. I will be able to remember my dad perking up at the sight of me, home from Turkey to see hem before he died, but will be forever haunted by my mom not knowing who I was and dying, essentially, alone. Photos of them in their thirties are in frames about the house, that's how I still picture them - Mom in a pretty dress and heels and dad in his jacket and skinny tie, dancing in the living room.
Facebook and the Woodlawn High School Class of 1971 page have allowed me to keep up with some of my school friends. Instead of seeing them every ten years at reunions and noticing the drastic changes ten years makes in bodies, faces, and health, for those who are honest, posting current profile photos, the changes seem more gradual. One of my classmates posted a photo of herself , a Glamor Shot, taken at some mall in the 1980s, as her profile photo and the only photo of her on her page. Who is she trying to fool? A cursory look at the photographs on her kids pages reveals a woman equally as old as the rest of us and ill-kept. I have more respect for those who post only photos of their pets.
Even my young friends, those just a little older than my kids, seem to be aging more rapidly, the less frequently I see them. My young Turk friends, in their twenties during my last deployment, are in their forties now. My kids approaching their forties and Kady, nine years younger than I am, all seem the same to me, though, if I look closely, I can tell they are older. Conversely, the grandbabies are growing by leaps and bounds and they change from visit to visit.
The saddest thing to watch is when people just give up and let themselves go, almost understandable in your sixties and seventies, but I have far too many young friends like that.
I thought on this while I was out walking Cooper this morning.
It left me wondering, "Why can't people be like me and stay twenty-eight forever?
Yes, I need more to do.
Music Today: Joss Stone, because she's such a babe and I'm pretty sure I'm the Boy.
Wednesday, 16 September 2020: More of the Same
Cooper and I had a good walk this morning and then walked again when Kady went for her walk. Coop was completely up for it. He and I did his short walk, hoping to get home before Kady left, but saw her drive off as we got close to the house. Cell Phones make things so easy. I called her to turn around and come get us.
Had a good coffee with Sal yesterday. It is always so good to talk to him; he is so positive and motivated. I like watching him become a father and hearing him brag about Rosalie.
Coop was beginning to stink, so I gave him a bath and a brush out. Doodles are hard to maintain. I towel-dried him and then we went out and dried in the sun as I combed out the kinks. He didn't kike the bath but loved air-drying in the sun and even the brush-out.
We heard from E. She'll be home before the end of the month. We also heard from Jay and KS and they will be coming for Columbus Day weekend. I'll pick them up and drop them back off at the airport.
Haven't listened to a thing all day.
Monday, 14 September 2020: Adventures in Puppy Sitting
Coop was restless all yesterday, whining about what I couldn't discover. I walked with him, took him out often, played with him, and we did tricks-for-shacks, nothing worked. He went to sleep about 9 pm after a pee, normal.
About 1 am, he came to my door, which I leave open for him, and "ruffed" at me. I told him to go back to sleep. A few seconds later, he "ruffed" at me again and when I opened my eyes, he was in my face.
OK. Gotcha. Time to go out. I got dressed and took him out. Po Buddy's stomach was upset. On our way back to the house he threw up a little, twice.
When we got back inside, he went right to the couch and back to sleep without going to his food bowl. There is no telling how long he had been awake trying to get me up.
This morning I took him out about 7 am and then fed him. Once fed, slept until almost ten. We walked a couple of miles, but it was slow, and he didn't poo. He slept till just before noon.
Kady and I let him rest and went for Mex. It was great.
Back home, I took him outside with me and we sat under the tree for a couple of hours. The weather was nice and there was a steady wind blowing. I got Kady to go with us for a short walk, hoping he'd take care of business, but all he did wad pee. Inside, he ate like normal and then fell back asleep.
I can only imagine I'm in for another Midnight wakeup.
Exciting stuff, I know.
Sunday, 13 September 2020: Real Football
We finally had some Class B football on TV tis weekend. It was only the ACC, but, as I recall, the have one team in that conference, I forget the school, who can play at the national level. I hear that Notre Dame is playing in the ACC this year, but that doesn't chance the numper of teams in that conference who can compete nationally.
I was happy to see FSU get beaten by GT. I like it when FSU loses to anyone. I hate FSU.
All you Cam Newton haters can sit down. He did great in his first game as a Pat.
Music Today: The Steel Wools cause I'm Red, White, and Blue.
Friday, 11 September 2020: Yippy Dogs
Yeah, before I get going, I know what today is and upon what I should be commenting, but I'm pissed off.
I've been bitten by dogs three times in my life and every time, it was by what I call a Yippy Dog, evil little good-for-nothing rat dogs, lap dogs, tea cup dogs, and the like. These little bastards are all assholes, untrained, and ill mannered. All of them should be strangled or we should just turn our real dogs on them and their owners.
This morning as we were going out for our walk, the woman three doors down was out in her front yard with her little shit of a dog, off leash, talking to another person who lives on the street, paying no attention to her damn dog. "It," for there is no better name for this dog, began losing its mind, as it always does when it sees Cooper, and began running toward us. The woman caught it, picked it up, while I sat Cooper and positioned myself to punt the little mutt back into its yard.
I'm not bothered by any of that; I'm actually hoping for a chance to fuck this dog up. BUT! Then the woman walked toward us telling It, "Of course you can go see Cooper," the little fucker yipping and snarling all the while. When she got close, Cooper went for the dog in her arms and I had to pull Cooper away.
If I thought Cooper would have grabbed It by the throat, I would have let him loose, but I'm sure Copper just wanted to play and I was afraid he'd scratch the woman by accident ot It would bite Coop. We walked away.
Thirty seconds later, Cooper threw-up his breakfast. I'm not sure if the incident caused this, but I'm blaming it on them anyway.
We're going to avoid them from now on and if they don't let us, I will to have to be rude to the Horrid Creature. I'm not one for winning friends and influencing people.
I will probably spend most of the day plotting a horrible and painful death for all Yippy Dogs.
In better Cooper news: He and I went out for a walk about 4:30 pm and he began losing his mind, barking and growling at the last house on the street. This is unlike him and nothing I could do would stop him or break his focus. I looked and saw nothing. Cooper began tugging on the leash and headed toward the house until he and I both saw that it was just a new sign in the yard. As we got closer, I could see why he as so defensive. The sign read, "Biden Harris 2020."
Cooper is obviously a Republican.
Music Today: Train (the old stuff) because I can't wait to meet Virginia.
Thursday, 10 September 2020: Dreariness With a Chance of Continued Dreariness
It's still cold, wet windy, and overcast out there. Now I remember why I didn't like Kansas. This is how it was the last few months of 2018, while we were in Leavenworthless
I watched Time Trap on Netflix today. I'll give it a C+ for trying. The reasons were shaky, the origin was nonexiatant, and the solution was decent.
I had a good Virtual Coffee with KSN. She's the best!
Music Today: Dan. It was that kind of day. "When faced with the past . . ."
Wednesday, 9 September 2020: Fall for a Couple of Days
A cold snap and wet weather arrived in Kansas yesterday, with temperatures in the 40s and misting rain that makes it feel like you're walking in a cloud. Cooper doesn't seem to mind and more motivated walking in the cooler air.
Yep. This is my life, controlled by Cooper's schedule: sleep, walk, feed, check the weather, walk, lunch, walk, play, walk, feed, walk, repeat.
I'm sure glad I have some Hemingway to read and brought Game of Thrones to watch.
Today's Music: Luke Combs. Eh. Not Bad.
Sunday, 6 September 2020: With What Are We Left?
Here we go again America. Again, I get to ask, where are our leaders like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan? Once again we're left with choosing between two old men "who couldn't pour pee out of a boot with instructions printed on the heel."
Our current president is a draft-dodging, silver spoon-fed little mama's boy, who was never told "no," who surrounds himself with yes men, never thinks before he speaks, and panders to every crazy group who and every notion or theory that suit his unintelligible narrative. In some areas, he seems to have supportable aims, border control, fair trade, a strong military, and such, but his plan for accomplishing them is haphazard, if not downright chaotic . . . and getting more chaotic by the day. I wonder, also, if he has the physical stamina for another four years and dislike his super-religious vice president.
Do I think we can stand four more years of his lack of leadership? No. Do I want a President Pence? NO.
BUT . . .
Our other choice is an old man rapidly approaching the end of his cognitive abilities. The man can't form complete sentences and the sentences he does form are sometimes so nonsensical that you might think he's having a mini-stroke or something. I think he's a good guy and I like a lot of his moderate positions, not all mind you, but I doubt his mental and physical fitness to perform the job. His running mate is an unknown to me, so, before I vote for Him, I have to reconcile Her as President in my mind. It was the same thing with McCain for me. I didn't want that idiot Sarah Palin anywhere near to the White House.
As it stands right now, I think Joe Biden is going to win by a landslide.
We're up shit creek in this country and we need a paddle, a President with stamina, ethics, bravery, education. We need a President with, at least, working knowledge of science and our constitution. One with American ideals, proven leadership abilities, who will build an administration of experts. We need a person who is tough on crime and willing to stand up to and shut down the anarchists on both ends of the spectrum. Our President must be pro-America and pro-military, with an ability to work across party lines and international borders, moderate and inclusive in their thinking. We need, preferably, a Veteran. We need a selfless servant.
I do not think that is too much to ask.
I'm sad to say it, but I think the Republican's need to lose this election so they can rid themselves of Trumpian and Tea Party influences so that a real Leader can arise from the ashes, someone who will be ready, four years from now when the American People see the destructive influence of a Democratic Party-run White House, House, and Senate because that's what I'm expecting. The Republic will need to reverse a lot of things that may become law in these next four years.
We have to do better than this shit.
Right now, I think it's going to come down to this for me - I like Biden, and think he's a decent human, but I can't stand Trump, never could.
Today's Music: Bankie Banx, cause I'm an island boy. I swear, as soon as I'm back East, I'm heading to the OBX, In January, for my birthday, in my Mustang. Ok, maybe I'll wait a couple of months. and spend some time in MY HOUSE!
Friday, 4 September, 2020: iPhone-12? No.
I've been toying with the idea of getting the new iPhone-12 when they get around to releasing it. This may seem like I'm giving up or giving in and perhaps I am thinking on doing both.
The reasons are simple - Samsung is frustrating the shit out of me and iPhone users are exclusive, at least mine are, and if I want to video chat with them, I have to beg them to use a third-party app like Duo, Facebook, Meet, Skype or whatever. I mean, how hard is it to put Duo on your fucking phone? You all already have a Google Account, use Google Contacts, Google Calendar, Google Keep, and Google Maps. My daughter and son have Duo on their phones, but Jay is the only one who'll use it. Oh No! We use Face Time; it's so much "better" - mer, mer, mer.
They frustrate me more than Samsung, BUT I want to strangle Samsung. Every time they do an update, they load more of their shit on my phone. The latest - emoji programs for teenyboppers, a tracking program that tells business when I'm in their area, and a program that tells me if I'm using my phone too much for my well-being. I can't delete them, I can't disable them (except the emoji), and I can't stop them from sending me notifications.
Otherwise, my S10+ is a great phone, fast, three-day battery life, and does everything I want it to.
Now that I've talked this out with you, reader, I think iPhone users can all pound sand up their fourth point of contact. I'll keep this phone, frustrations and all, until it either dies or is paid off, and then get a Pixel. I can save myself a lot of anxiety by just not looking in "Apps" after updates and giving up on video coffee with my people.
In happy Samsung/Microsoft news . . . They've done a lot of work on the Your Phone Companion app, which lets you operate your phone, answer and send texts, answer and make calls, transfer photos all from your Computer. Very handy when working at your desk. It ain't perfect, but it works well most of the time, perhaps better than Google Messages.
Music Today: The Boss, because, well, he's the Boss.
Tuesday, 1 September 2020: Konza
After Cooper and I did out thing, Kady and I went out to the Konza Prairie for a walk. It turned out to be a hike. It is beautiful and wild out there and there was only one other family group out there when we were. We let them pass and took a different route to stay away from them and their little untrained disease vectors.
The prairie is covered in wildflowers this time of year. It was good for photography. The route was farther than Kady usually walks, but she was a champ. It was pretty steep and wild in places, but the day was cool and overcast until the last few hundred yards. Still, it was a hump.
On our way home we stopped at Chick-fil-a and they no longer sell the Chicken Salad Sandwich. Damnit! Why do they stop selling their best things? Bring back the Banana Pudding Shake, Frosted Key Line, and my sandwich, PLEASE!
We found a windmill. I'll have to go back one afternoon with the Mamiya RZ-67.
Today has been a Sister Hazel and Katie Garfield music day.
Monday, 30 August 2020: Bugs and Wheat
During my coffee with Jay this morning, I told him I was taking photos of bugs and looking to photograph wheat fields. Kansas. They have wheat in Kansas, right?
In my quest to macro photo bugs, I captured a grasshopper in my kill jar, and closed the lid, intending to suffocate him. After a few minutes, I checked and he was still alive, but I could tell he was suffering. The new me couldn't take it; I had to let him out, which I did, but it took a while for him to recover. We talked, I took his photo, and then he flew off. New Plan: Live Bugs.
This afternoon, I went looking for wheat. I went to the Kansas State Wheat Research facility, knowing I'd find wheat there. No Wheat. I drove around Tuttle Creek Lake on 13 to 16 and back on 24, but, still, no wheat. I can only guess that this is not the time of year for wheat, but, what the hell do I know about wheat. Hell, Google it, Neely! I did, and, YES, wheat is harvested in late July. I'm late. Maybe the winter wheat sowed in late September.
I was, also, on the lookout for a windmill. Kansas. They have windmills in Kanas, right?
It was, however, a good drive, a beautiful day, great straightaways. About the time I began thinking how much fun this one stretch would be in Bess, a State Trooper pulled over a guy going the other way. Sixty-five. Sixty-five is good.
Holly Williams Music. Listen.
Saturday, 28 August 2020: Rain
After destroying parts of Louisiana, the outer edges of Huricane Laura came through Kansas early this morning, bringing a mild thunderstorm and much needed rain. Cooper and I, somehow, dodged it and got in our walk.
Friday, 28 August 2020: Day Date
Kady and I actually went out to eat today; we chose Mexican food, El Tapatio. Yes, we had to wear our masks until we got to our table and while paying on our way out, but the staff was playing the safety game, the tables were WELL spread apart, we chose a time after the lunch hour, and everything went well. The food was great and it was nice to sit and talk across the table from my girl.
Cooper and I have been walking a lot as I test out distances with him. It seems his max "allowable" distance is about 3.5 miles and that he is happiest when we go about 2.5. Our route around the block is only 1.7, so we do that every other day, with me walking first, then taking him on that route after. Tomorrow I'll try out a new 2.5 mile route.
Since being here, my diet has been driven by other people. I eat what they eat and when they eat. NOw tha the kids are in California, I'm back at it, fasting from lunch till Breakfast and it is working its magic. I'm sleeping well again and I just beat the 218 mark, down to 216. My goal is to be at 210 by the middle of September.
Monday, 24 August 2020: Off to NTC
I took E to Post this morning, stopping at her unit to get her dogtags, then by supplt t get her MREs, and then to the marshaling area. I helped her unload her bags and carried her ruck to the baggage area for her, hugged her goodbye, and then took a scenic drive through Ft. Riley on my way home.
I got home in time for Cooper's walk, though he had to be encouraged, thinking, I guess, that his mom would be back at the house.
Sunday, 23 August 2020: Out on the Prairie
Kansas and I have come to an understanding. I have decided to give Kansas a chance and stop calling it "Kans-ass," and Kansas has cooled off considerably so I can spend more time outside. The weather here, in the mornings, is absolutely gorgeous, in the high 60s or the low 70s, with a light breeze, and clear blue skies, perfect for long walks.
I am taking my camera with me on my treks through the Prairie and it is like a magnet for nice people who want to talk. There are some really friendly people around here. Usually, they ask if I've gotten some nice shots, but some are more direct, asking what I'm photographing. "Everything: flowers, the grass, birds, insects. Anything that catches my eye," I tell them.
They open up and want to talk about their favorite Prairie Thing. By the time one pretty young lady, arm full of wildflowers, and I parted, I knew she had two children, liked giving their teachers flowers, walked there often, and used the prairie to center her life. I hope I see her again; I'm going to ask to take her photo.
Another lady, older, two hounds off-leash, pointed out the Long Grass that shows up this time of year. She says it will take over the park by next month. I'll look forward to that.
E is almost finished packing for the field. I'm helping out when called. Actually, I repacked and rearranged her load, giving it some semblance of organization. Tenting Tonight stuff goes in the Ruck: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Mat, Food, Hygiene Kit, Change of clothes, Helmet. All else goes in the A-Bag. She's taking a shit load of food. Like me, she can't stomach MREs.
She'll be gone for 45 days, leaving tomorrow. Fort Irwin. I hate that place. I'll drive her to post tomorrow at 6:45. She and I have had a few good walks together. after A left. He's there too, though living in a hotel. I love talking to her. She is so intelligent, so good at her job, at such a good time in her life.
Once gone, Kady and I are planning a few day trips to quaint little towns around here. The Konza Prairie Trail is calling my name as well, except it is a no dogs area, which is rude, but understandable since it is a Kansas State University research area.
My coffee dates are working well. Jay and I meet every Monday or "try." Sometimes, his schedule dowesn't work or mine, but we've met most Mondays. KS and I meet about every two weeks. The girl is busy.
Tuesday, 18 August 2020: Settling Into My Routine
I'm The Dog Walker! A leaves tomorrow, and E leaves in a few days. They want me to be responsible for Cooper, so have not set up play dates with Jesse, his walker. This is what I have been wanting all along. Most days, since I have been here, I haven't taken him for his long walk; Jesse has done that. Today, however, was the first day of the new routine.
Here's my plan. Up by 6. Out for his pee, then breakfast for both of us. News and Coffee, sometimes with a friend. Long walk about 10, moderate distance every other day. Writing. My Lunch at Noon. His Supper at 6.
I can't believe Yellowstone Season 3 is almost done.
Monday, 17 August 2020: Cigars and Liquor
Yesterday was National Airborne Day. I celebrated with three young paratroopers, my daughter, my son-in-law, and a friend of theirs. I bought cigars and Irish Mist for the occasion.
The cigar I chose for myself was a Romeo y Julieta Reserve, which was one of the nicest cigars I have ever smoked, smooth until the very end.
We toasted General William C. Lee, LT. William Ryder, Red King, and the 505PIR. A toasted E, we toasted her combat unit, the 82nd CAV, and I toasted the best Airborne wife ever, Kady.
Totally inebriated before the sun went down, I headed to my room to sober up and watched a movie.
Today has been recovery. I got up at 5, walked at 6, was back in bed by 8, got up at 10, cleaned the kitchen (my job here), ate lunch, and then took another nap from 2pm until 6 pm. I can't drink like that any more.
Friday, 14 August 2020: Photography is Seeing
I walked eight miles today, around the golf course, my favorite walk so far, and then around the neighborhood photographing plants. I called the endeavor, "Considering the Lilies."
My goal was to look for the detail in the common grass flowers that I see every morning on my walks, close up views to show how intricate and beautiful they are.
If you've studied photography for any length of time, you'll run across articles on "seeing" photographs. I have conducted exercises where you chose a form, like a letter in the alphabet or shape, and then look for and photograph that form in your environment. This is a good exercise that teaches you to be observant and to frame shots for the look you want. It's fun.
Likewise, my exercise, today, had me looking closely are every flash of color, white, red, purple, green, yellow . . .
I think I got some really good shots. Next, I want to photograph bugs. For this endeavor, I need to perfect my Macro Photography, which has been problematic for me so far. YouTube Research Time.
Wednesday, 12 August 2020: They're Just For You*
To celebrate the birth of Kady's mom, Sylvia, she and I went out to watch the meteor shower this morning. The best time for us was before moonrise, after Midnight. We didn't see many, but a few was all we needed. We agreed, This was something Syl would have been all about.
Shooting Stars or not, it was a good night together. As our eyes adjusted and we could see the Milky Way clearly, Kady asked, "What do you think is out there?" Oh Boy. Loaded Question. I got to talk about time, space, infinity, and all the things I hold dear. She stood quietly looking up, listening as I waxed eloquent.
we gave up when our necks began to hurt and the moon began to rise. Happy Birthday Sylvia.
As if to challenge me, the Radiolab I listened to on my walk this morning, A Match Made in Marrow, 2017, was about a Yankee girl, an atheist, who signed up to be a bone marrow donor, on a whim, while at a music festival. Years later, she is identified as a "perfect match" for a guy in Texas. Her marrow saves his life. When they meet, he turns out to be a nice guy, well off, a magician, and a Christian. Actually, a Christian Magician. That's his job. He does a magic act and then preaches the gospel.
When they meet, she becomes a part of his act/testimony as he tells others that she was sent to him by god. This causes, in her, a dilemma of belief, but she continues because of the number of people who sign up to be marrow donors after each show. When the two talked it out, with Radiolab mediating and recording, they both agree to disagree, both stick to their guns. Radiolab did a fine job of remaining neutral, and balance the arguments in their segment.
I, of course, came out clearly on the side of the girl, because of two things said in the segment, and because of my own personal beliefs. The first thing that stood out to me was that the guy was well-to-do, who "lived in a "big house, another preacher making money off of selling god. Second, when the Radiolab guys asked if they could discuss her dilemma during the second half of his show, the spiritual part, he stated that he couldn't because of his concerns for his business and because of how it would look to his supporters.
Ding, Ding, Ding! Surprise, a man who makes his money with illusions, wanting to continue the illusion that a god sent him this person to perform a miracle in his life.
No. his life was saved by the kindness and caring of this young girl, who gave up her stem cells, so that medical science could cure his cancer. The story was supposed to be an example of how people could get along even though they believed things at opposite ends of a spectrum. I saw it as this guy using this girl for his own benefit and the girl playing along, as a means to an end.
End of Story.
Jay had to cancel our coffee on Monday, but I finally linked up with KS on Tuesday.
*Stars by Dan Fogelberg
Sunday, 9 August 2020: Breaking Camp
I slept like shit again last night. The mattress seemed harder than the night before, the blanket provided little warmth, I tossed-and-turned all night, and there was a thunderstorm right over us in the wee hours of the morning.
I gave up at 7 am and got up for the day.
Andy was already up packing things away. He already had my Keurig set up, so I made a cup of coffee and watched new Reels on Instagram. I don't get it, mostly, but understand the hot girl dancing thing.
E made us all breakfast burritos and then we parked up. E and A are a great team and have a system down already. I washed dishes and took Cooper for a walk for my part. They were done a little before noon and we headed home after dumping the black tank.
Back at the house, I unloaded my stuff and helped A take the boats off the roof, and then went about getting my small footprint set up in the guestroom.
Saturday, 8 August 2020: Wind
I lied this morning, saying, "I slept like a rock." I meant, I slept like I was on a rock.
The backside of Tuttle Creek State Park is nice. Outside, the wind was blowing through the trees. How long has it been since I have heard this sound? Even in Charlottesville, it is usually too noisy to hear the wind. This area is really beautiful and quiet, with gigantic trees giving "abiding shade,"* and the wind is usually blowing. The kids drove to the lake with their boats this morning, while Kady, Cooper, and I stayed in the shade and read. I'm reading Hemingway’s short stories. Today I started Snows of Kilimanjaro.
This afternoon, the weather turned hot, really hot. It was in the high 90s and the wind stopped. The kids came back a couple of hours later, right after Kady had lunch, Jimmy John's which we brought with us. E set up her Minnidip pool and we circled it with our feet on the water. That cooled us off for a while, but about 3 pm we moved inside to play cards.
*The Park by Uriah Heep
Friday, 7 August 2020: Glamping
The Army has a way of changing plans. We were to be out at Tuttle Creek this afternoon but E got off later than expected. The RV is packed and ready, but the kayaks still need to be loaded. The others decided we'd eat first and then head out.
I suggested, in the early afternoon that A and I should go out to set up camp, so the girls could close in later. I don't know who nixed that idea, but now we're sitting at the house while the others plan meals, ordering pizza, and, I hear, ordering a grocery delivery.
This is so funny to me. We've known for a week that we were going and we're only now planning food. Hahahahaha.
We have at our disposal, two of the best organizers and planners in the world, Kady and I, and they are being wasted. Oh, Well.
After we had the vehicles loaded and hooked we were on our way. Nope. We had to stop for booze. Then A needed a sandwich for lunch and E wanted a bag of ice. At 8:15 pm we were on the highway headed north.
We arrived at the site about 15 minutes later. A set up the RV, E set up the yard furniture, Kady set up the indoors, and I gathered wood and started the campfire.
Trying to sleep was a pain in the ass. I was on the top bunk in the corner, by the bath, on a mattress designed for a small child, and reminiscent of taking an MRI. I never got comfortable.
Sunday, 2 August 2020: A Long Walk
I took Coop walking to the Top of the World this morning. We went well prepared, taking his water bottle and taking breaks in the shade along the way. he did great.
The weather was nice. Sadly, one dog owner wasn't. His dog surprised us coming around a curve on the trail, off-leash. He rushed Cooper, but Coop stood his ground and sat on command. The guy kept calling his dog who didn't respond, so I told Cooper to Come. When Cooper turned his back, the dog lunged at his heels. Cooper turned and went defensive. I had him sit and told the guy to get control of his dog and said, "You know, this is why we have leashes." He said "I have one," to which I responded, "Then put it on your Goddamn Dog."
End of conversation.
On the way back, Cooper decided he was over my shit. He refused to move. No amount of coaxing would get him going. I called Kady to come pick us up and the boy drug me to the car when he spotted it, dove in the back seat, and laid down with his face in the air-conditioning vent. I'll have to admit that the cooler air did feel mighty good.
The Dragon splash-down went as planned, very impressive, and we all huddled around the tube to watch. Good Neelesk family time.
Cooler weather has improved my mood considerably. The off-leash-dog-guy reminded me that I still dislike most people.
Saturday, 1 August 2020: Better Weather
The weather has turned NICE!
With the more moderate temperatures comes more sleeping in, later mornings, longer walks, and more time with Cooper. He and I didn't leave the house until after 8, and the temerature was still in the low seventies. I was able to take him for a three-miler.
We'll go farther tomorrow.
This afternoon, Kady and I went for a short walk with him at Frank Anneburg Park. We didn't go far, just enough to get out of the house and to show Kady the Park.
Friday, 31 July 2020: Stomach Bug
I've been ill all day long. I didn't feel right at breakfast but went out for a walk. I turned around after about a block.
I had chills, my stomach was in an uproar, and I was feeling pretty dizzy. It felt like the same stuff I had on two Trap and Skeet Trips. Just like those times, about 5 hours later and after multiple trips to the bathroom, I got over everything but the weakness. Kady made me some soup and crackers which helped tremendously. I've decided it was the spicy pistachios I ate.
I spent the balance of the day watching Yellowstone.
Thursday, 30 July 2020: Perseverance Launch
I need a vehicle that will make Mach-1 in less than 45 seconds! Damn, It was amazing.
NASA put the new Mars Rover, Perseverance in orbit this morning, a little after 7 am, EST. I got up to watch. The Atlas V is so much fun to watch, so fast, and so powerful. It seems faster than the Space-X rocket. I surely don't know. Maybe it's all about how Space-X orchestrates and produces the coverage for entertainment value.
So, the rover and it's little helicopter, Ingenuity, are in orbit as they run tests, and will soon be on its 7-month journey to Mars. The next big part of the show begins in March. Though the chopper it cool and I can't wait to see that, what I'm really excited about is the microphone on the rover where we'll be able to hear the sounds of Martin. "Can't you recognize the human in the inhuman?" Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles
It'll take a manned mission to get taste and smell out there.
The next fun space things to watch are the undocking and return of the NASA/Space-X crew from the ISS, scheduled for the weekend
I went for my walk this morning between spells of rain. I listened to Cold Case Files which mingled well with my mood. I've decided I don't like people and this show just confirms my prejudice. Maybe some Lavar tomorrow.
Just when I think I'm a Rock or an Island, Sal texts me. Ok, I like Sal.
It's really coming down out there which also helps with the loathing. The weather should be better tomorrow and I want to go take more photos.
I've watched two Reese Witherspoon movies today. I like Reese too.
Tuesday, 28 July 2020: Boring
Sil once told me, "Only boring people are bored." I'm trying, friend.
Yesterday was stormy, so I hit the sidewalks at 6 am today, headed to Top of The World again, hoping for a nice sunrise. No Deal. It was cloudy and foggy. Still, I found a wildflower I had never seen, so I took a shot with my phone, hoping to identify it when I got back to the house. The whole rest of my walk I asked myself, "Why didn't you take your camera, boy?" I should have.
The walk was, uh, exercise.
Once back at the house, I ran "Wildflowers of Kansas" on Google. I tried two different pages and didn't see my new flower, so I put it on Facebook. Right away, one of my Brother Rats, Alison M. had it identified, using an App. Cheating? I think so.
I told her that it was like Googling crossword answers.
The flower, pictured here, is called Snow-on -the-Mountain or Snow-on-the-Prairie. Since we ain't on close to any mountains and in the middle of the Prair' (as we call the piedmont in Alabama), I'm going with Snow-on-the-Prairie.
I went back in the afternoon, Kady and Cooper in tow, with the big camera for more shots. Kady, under my big umbrella, did her best Deborah Foreman imitation: "My, My, It's very Hot. At least it's not Sticky" Ok, that may have been me, but she was unimpressed.
I'm back to Intermittent Fasting in the evenings, eating Breakfast and Lunch, but no Supper. This helps me get to bed earlier and I sleep better. Gone is the acid-reflux I began getting again and I'm more refreshed in the morning. Kady makes me a plate of what they had for dinner and I eat that for lunch. E is just going to have to understand and get over wanting me on her schedule.
My attitude has sucked for the last three days, though I don't let the family see it. My inclination has been to shut everyone out and I may do just that. If you don't contact me, I ain't contacting you. No more Neely driving the train. Cue Dwight Yoakam's A Thousand Miles from Nowhere.
Friday, 24 july 2020: Coffee with Weston's Mom
I got op at 5 am for a walk; it was perfect. I walked the big circle around the Golf Course, which is 4.77 miles. It was warm out and a little humid, but so much better than walking after sun-up. I was back in time to clean up and meed Afton on Messenger for Virtual Coffee.
Afton is one of my Cadets, a Member of VMI Trap and Skeet Team, and a member of my inner circle of friends. She is one of my favorite people ever, now married to a great guy with a new baby boy, an adorable little chubby-cheeked Cherub. The conversation was typically lively, just like those we had sitting in the van at shoots while we were both still at VMI, and mostly about the state of the nation. Our Conclusion: People are just friggin Nuts!
Next week, we're supposed to have cooler weather. I hope so. It is oppressive here and I want to get out of the house to go see things. The temperature at 4 pm was 90 degrees, and the Weather Channel said the humidity was 64% and it felt like 100. Taking Cooper out is an energy zapping-event.
It is only 74 in Charlottesville (Heavy Sigh). Hell, it's only 88 in Birmingham Alabama and 89 in Key West! I just told Kady that I was settled-in and good for the long run here, but that doesn't mean I don't think about being somewhere else.
Wednesday, 22 July 2020: Two Walks, Two People
This morning I took Cooper for a walk, like usual, only later than usual. It was super hot and humid. We were just past Old Chicago Pizza when he decided he had had enough and turned around. It was shorter to keep going the way we were headed, but he was determined. I had to pull him for about twenty feet until he got the idea. Walk distance: 1.4 miles.
I need more than that.
Back at the house, I cooked up some eggs-and-grits, watched a little Rectify (I'm in Season 2 already), and messaged LC on Instagram. It had been a while and I have to check on her to keep up. Of all of E's friends, I like her best. It is a shame they had such a falling-out. I can sense when things aren't going right for her. It's a little spooky. Though she didn't mention why, she is back in Lex.
After Dinner, which was Roast and Potatoes, one of the most deliscious roasts Kady has ever made, and once the temperature began dropping, I went for another walk. It was still pretty bad at 7:30 pm and just as humid, but I went anyway. I listened to a good Radiolab on the Spanish Flu in 1919. Scary Shit. Total Distance for the Day: 5.91 miles.
By the time I got back to the house, I was Toast. As I cooled down in my room (not my room), DJ came up on Messenger. We had a long talk about her life. I think she is very lonely.
Young people have it tough these days.
Monday, 20 July 2020: Rectifying the Coffee Situation
The day went slowly. It was storming out all night, which made for great sleeping. I got up early to meet Jy in-line for a coffee and convo. I've started that up again, with DJ, Sunday, Jay today, and KS, back from a business trip to Omaha tomorrow morning. I'll be meeting Afton Friday, who I haven't seen since her wedding, which is wrong.
Coffee is better now that I had Kady get me a small Keruig and some Lavazza. E's Nespresso makes a good cup of coffee, but, I was restricted to making Stormio because I am using my Ember, which holds a maximun of 8 ounces. All her other blends made more than my cup could handle. Even Stormio fills it to the rim and was getting old. I needed MY coffee. I needed Lavazza.
Cooper and I were able to walk this morning in between downpours but got soaking wet on our last quarter mile when the bottom dropped out. I thought my phone might be destroyed, but remembered I had Doggie Poo Bags in my pocket. Perfect.
The rest of the day might have been a bust, except that my buddy Gerry steered me toward Rectify on Netflix. I'm Hooked. I've already watched four episodes. I highly suggest it.
We had steaks from SS's farm tonight. So Tender. Well done, Friend. He texted me today to let me know that Blue's face was less swollen and that he was playing and eating again. It seems he was either kicked by Calf or decided to tangle with a bee or wasp. Eight Lives to go.
I also watched Maggie's War on Prime, recommended by my brother Jim. It's a good 82nd Airborne Story and worth watching.
Sunday, 19 July 2020: A Day Off
Today was pajama day; I have hurt my back again. Last night, I was in so much pain that I quit cards about halfway through, and went to bed. That was about 8 pm. I didn't sleep well until well after midnight. I just couldn't get comfortable and it hurt every time I moved. I hit a lot of Motrin.
I woke this morning feeling a lot better.
Saturday, 18 July 2020: This Ain't Working
The plan was for E or A to text me the moment that Coper stirred so I could take him out, feed him, and then get in a walk with him before it got too hot. At 8 am I had heard nothing. The temperature outside was already 83 degrees. It is supposed to go to 100 today.
I should either go or suck it up. Suck it up, I guess.
As it happened, Cooper got the blame. I went downstairs because I was tired of waiting and because it was already 85 out. I ran into A. He said Cooper hadn't gotten up this morning and was still in their room with E. It seems he had been up for a pee and breakfast but went back to sleep. I called him and we went for a two-miler; it was too hot for us to do more.
Now it feels like 106 out there according to the Weather Channel.
Last night, I tried sharing my photo of Neowise with E. She made a snippy comment telling me she was uninterested. Not interested? Where did I go wrong with this girl? A Neel not excited by a once in a lifetime comet? Unbelievable. We did, however, have yet another round of army talk and cards. I'm beginning to hate cards.
I finished Rectify. Highly Recommended.
We were supposed to go camping in the RV this weekend, but everyone, including me, decided against it. It would not have been ideal. It's a small RV, the place we were going had no water or sewage hookups, and high temperatures meant we would spend much of our time in the trailer. Though it was only for two nights, I was not looking forward to it, so, I don't think anyone else was either. Good Call.
Thursday, 16 July 2020: Neowise
Tonight was a pretty decent night for catching the comet, a little hazy, with some low-lying clouds in the north west, but otherwise clear. Waiting was the only issue; EENT didn't arrive until almost 22:45. It was worth it.
Neowise was right where it was supposed to be and spotting it in the waining light was pretty easy with binoculars. The D850 Nikon did great work capturing a shot, just befor the sky turned black, the deep blue of twilight making a more dramatic photo.
A came out for a look and I called Kady out, already in her pajamas. E was asleep after a hard day of playing Army. The comet, though faint in the lights of The Little Apple, was really spectacular.
If you look closely at this photo, you'll notice the comet looks oblong, the effects of a 30-seconds exposure combined with the Earth's rotation.
Nikon D850, 55mm, f/10, 30-Seconds, ISO 400
So. Success. Finally.
On to other things.
Sad news from the Farm today: Silky and one of the Hens were killed by something last night. Poor Hen.
Wednesday, 15 July 2020: Cloud Gazing
I drove up to Top of The World last night; I won't do that again. It was covered up with people, none wearing masks. I stayed in the car until it started getting dangerous for my car. It is a small place, probably enough room for about ten cars. They kept coming
I got to see a nice sunset, alone, since the cool kids stayed home and played yet another game of cards, through the windshield, looking past a big truck. I waited for everyone to leave but more people began arriving. I cranked up the car and drove away, just in time; the police arrived. I don't know why.
I drove to a spot I noticed on a walk, high up, not ideal, but at least alone, and waited. As the stars began to come out, so did the clouds. I could see the bowl of the Big Dipper but nothing around it. NEOWISE should have been just below the bowl last night. I stayed until almost 11 pm, hoping for a break, but the clouds only got thicker.
At on point, in the southern sky, I could see Jupiter, now at its closest point to Earth, shining through a gap. I got a fun photo of it, interesting only to geeks like me, but a good story.
The coyotes were singing last night.
Tuesday, 14 July 2020: Comet Hunting
Yesterday, I left the house well before sunrise, walking the hills, hoping to get a look at Comet Neowise. The sky above was clear as could be, but the northwest was cloudy.
The sky was beautiful, but a beautiful sunrise was not why I was there. I told myself there would be other days and settled in for a good morning walk, enjoying what the Earth was giving. It was my best walk so far.
When I began headeing south, I decided to turn around and watch the sun come up. THERE IT WAS! Faint but unmistakable, right in the middle of a small break in the clouds. "Gotcha!" I tried to photograph it with my phone, but it didn't work; too light out. I needed my big camera.
"Tomorrow, then, Neowise!"
This morning, though my weather application said it would be overcast, I drove my camera and tripod up to Top of The World for another try. The App was correct, there wasn't a star in the whole sky.
I went back to the house when the lightning began, not wanting to be the tallest point in Manhattan.
I will try again tomorrow morning, though the Weather Channel says it'll be raining all day. I only need a little break in the clouds.
Sunday, 12 July 2020: Changes
I got up at 5 this morning for my walk. It was in the low 60s. I was actually cold. I headed south to a park not too far from here, circled the park, and then came back.
We were supposed to go to a state park today, but that idea was cancelled.
Then we went to see A play soccer, but he pulled a hamstring, and that cancelled that.
We went for lunch at a Mexican place we all like, El Tapatio. We all ate too much and decided that it was supper as well.
Saturday, 11 July 2020: Finding Hamilton in the Noise
I watched Hamilton. Spoiler Alert.
We planned a Hamilton Watching Party including a Low-Country Boil tonight. The food was outstanding. Hamilton? Uhhhhh . . .
omewhere amidst the typically terrible hip-hop "music," straining rhymes, hard on the nerves syncopartions, and the wierd dancing, was a story trying desperately to get out. It was lost in the minutia that is that type of music.
Let's start there. I don't like hip-hop/rap, believing music must have melody, so, this "musical" was not one.
As for the dancing, some girl dragging a chair around the stages as she wallows around on the floor is not dancing, and that is just one of the thousands of examples of the absurd dancing in this show. It wasn't the dancers, you could tell that they were good, it was the choreography.
There were highlights.
King George was fun (reminded me of Herod in JCSS)
George Washington and Elisa's sister were strong voices
The death of Hamilton's son was emotional and well played, and the final duel was smarty done
The acting was . . . good, but someone should have coached them that you do have to over-act in front of the camera like you do on the stage.
I didn't like the portrayal of Jefferson or Madison. They were not funny and historically rediculous.
To me the entire production was New Think, maybe not a re-writing of history, but certeainly bending it quite a bit, which is not history at all.
You might argue that it was entertainment, not ment to be historical. I would counter with, "Whatever, Pumpkin."
And . . . I had questions.
How many times did they need to say the word "Boom?" I felt like I might be at an Auburn vs. Kent State football game.
Why do guys doing rap need to grab their package and do lude pelvic thrusts?
Why did they need dancer at all?
What would the outcry be if there was a civil war production and a white person was cast as Frederick Douglass or Harriet Tubman? Could we call Hamilton Cultural Appropriation? I think so!
I looked around at the end and I was the only one of five people still watching; everyone else had left the room. I think we had consensus; I was just more determined to like it than the rest. It was like struggling through Catcher in the Rye- Everyone says it's great and, yet, there is no redeaming value.
So, I sat alone in the Room Where it Happened, thinking, "This is not for me."
Is the Theater Really Dead?
This Boomer needs the likes of Brigadoon, 42nd Street, Starlight Express, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, or My Fair Lady . . . on the West End of London, please.
P.S. Everyone dies in the end.
Thursday, 9 July 2020: Not actually the top of the World
Today was a great day. I got up at 6, made my coffee, and didn't see anyone until 8 am when Cooper came in the door to the room. He and I went for a short walk for his morning pee, then I fed him. I took him for a walk and poo, and then I went for a walk to Top of The World up the Hudson Trail, a round trip of about 6 miles. My total distance was 7.24 miles, 123 minutes, 14,900 steps, and the equivalant of 46 floors. Yep, took my Fitbit today.
The Hudson Nature Trail cuts through the center of Manhattan, an extension of Hudson Avenue, a straight shot between the back yards of two neighborhoods. Most of it is paved until you pass Kauffman Drive, and then it is a well-maintained path across the prairie, up to the highest point in Manhattan, called Top of the World. The view is pretty good if you like looking around at "not much. of anything." I'd say it was "nice."
Let's put it this way: If I were headed West in a covered wagon and I came across Kansas, I would keep going.
I continued to the parking lot, a little further on, before turning back. The sun came out about halfway to the top, and the day was getting hot. I took the shortest way back, but, still, I'm a little burned. I need to wear sunscreen next time.
When I was back at the house, I jumped on the scale. 215! That's down 3 pounds from when I left Charlotteville and finally busting 218, where I've been of anout three weeks.
Kady and I went to the Post Office and UPS, then stopped by Jimmy John's for a sandwich. I got a big cookie to celebrate my weight loss. Small Steps.
We had a big Thunder Storm here this morning. The noise was deafening, reminding me of the storms in Izmir when, thirteen floors up, we were right in the middle of them. There are a lot of limbs down and trash blown all over town. Big storms on trash mornings are messy.
Wednesday, 8 July 2020: Tennessee to Kansas
Kady and I drove to Kansas yesterday, an easy trip of about thirteen hours, which took us fourteen because of a wreck that detoured everyone off of the Interstate. We got in about 8:45 pm. A helped me unload the car, which took a while, but I had everything done, including a long, hot shower, and was ready for bed by midnight.
I slept like a baby, waking up about 10:30 am.
This morning I uploaded my website, showing all the work I've been doing formatting. I feel good about it, though I know there are still tweaks I need to do
Sunday, 5 July 2020: Formatting
My formatting is finished so now I can concentrate on building needed pages. I'll begin with "family," adding photos and trying to figure out how to display spreadsheet and protect it.
Once I get to Kans-ass I want to invest a lot of time on my family tree, adding to Family Search, and get that info to my first cousins. I don't think I'll join Ancestry right now. Maybe in a month or so. Kady brought my dad's WWII letters home, so I hope to include them soon.
Saturday, 4 July 2020: A Tired Tennessee Indepenence Day
Today we cooked out for the Fourth.
I got up in time to watch the sunrise this morning. It was gorgeous.
I had very little sleep last night. The AC in the room where Kim and I sleep went out, and the plan was to put Kady and me in the master and SS would sleep on the couch. I didn't like that but didn't like the other options either. I hate sleeping hot.
The AC in the master sounds like a 747 taking off, freezes you, and then cuts off and waits until the room is hot before cutting on again. My night was a series of being startled awake, being unable to sleep because it was too hot or too cold, and covering up and uncovering. Then Kady came to bed and decided the whole bed and most of the covers were hers.
When SS got up, he and I went into full repair mode. Being just like him, SS had already bought another unit. He unhooked the old unit from inside and then I lowered it to the ground, sliding it down a ladder. We took out the old heating coil and installed it in the new unit, then lifted the new unit as far as we could with the Kubota, pulling it up the rest of the way by rope. It took us both. SS can do anything!
And, Then it was Shower Time.
Lunch was late but outstanding, corn, salad, potatoes, and steak. Later we went for shakes but ended up at Pal's for a Sauce Burger and they gave us free chili dogs. Now I'm completely beat, full, and ready for bed, and it's only a little after 7 pm.
I've been working on my site a bit but the internet out here is slow, so I'm only posting the additions to my journal. I'll update the whole thing once in Kans-ass.
E called today to see if we'd mind living, with them at a State Park, for four days in their camper. It looks like more trailer living when we go see them.
Friday, 3 July 2020: Second Day on the Farm
I needed a walk. As soon as I got up, after a restless night's sleep, I went walking on Highway 70. That's not ideal, the traffic is fast and loud, but I was safe about it. There is a wide shoulder and I walked facing traffic. I was armed. It's cooler here in the mountains.
It was boring. No KS or Jay, no Lavare Burton or Radiolab.
The goddamn Rooster came at me again, so I went to the car and got my walking stick and chased him around for about an hour, poking him with the stick, and calling him "Silkie," explaining that no bad-ass was ever called Silkie. Now, he gives me a wide berth. Fear the stick, Silkie.
We ate lunch at Yoder's where I had a great Rubin, a little soggy, but delicious. My desert was an Oreo pudding. Also good. No one in Yoder's was wearing a mask and it was packed. After. We rode around Rogersville. Nice little place. I was on a search for Boiled peanuts, but it seems that they are not a thing in Tennessee.
Then it was nap time.
The afternoon was in the 90s so we pretty much stayed in, but ventured out to the farm house to look around. The discussion about the next floor plan was active. I say the place needs a hallway.
Thursday, 2 July 2020: Old Tennessee
I began my morning with a light breakfast and then began doing a few things for the trip. I cleaned a bit of chocolate off of the passenger seat, not sure how that got there, cleaned the inside or the windshield, drove to the Exxon station to fill up the car and wash all the windows, and then came back to the house to begin packing.
I packed what I could and then waited for Kady to get up, not wanting to leave things out in the hot car.
We left about 11:15, headed south to Tennessee to see SS for Independence Weekend, stopping only twice for food, then gas. Traffic was rolling well, heavy only around Salem. That's normal. There were a lot of campers on I-81.
We arrived a little after 3 pm and I unloaded the things from the car we needed. I grabbed my camera and walked around the farm, played with Blue and Gray, the Siamese barn cats, checked out the hen house, and watched the boys from across the road feed the calf.
Watching the kittens is my favorite pastime on the Farm.
Everything went perfectly well for this leg of the trip until SS's little Silkie rooster decided to sneak up on me and attack my leg. The little bastard bloodied me. He and I came to a quick understanding when he came at me again. I smacked the shit out of him with an open-handed right cross that nearly took his head off. After patching up my leg, I went back out and he ran from me. I win.
Ah, life on the farm.
Wednesday, 1 July 2020: Breakfast in Bed
KS met me at the house this morning for our walk. I took her down the new trail from the Presbyterian Church to Holly Meade Lake, then down to Lake View Trail to the twin Hurts Lakes. It was a short 3-miler.
After our walk, I went to Hardees for Biscuits and gave kady breakfast in bed. She deserved it for all the things she has done for this event.
We picked up Venny's for lunch and took it to Jay and KS's house. Baked Spaghetti.
When we got home we began packing. It was easy; my stuff is always folded, so all I had to do was grab items from the drawer and shove them in my Kit Bag. We went back to Jay and KS's house with the dry goods that we didn't want to leave in the house and to say goodbye. We stopped by B's to say goodbye to Jk.
Tuesday, 30 June 2020: Doing Some of the Things
KS and I walked 5-miler this morning. It wasn't as enjoyable as other walks. Elise called about the time we started our third mile and wanted to vent about work. She has to work with a lot of people who are not good at their jobs. After she hung up, KS and I talk about VMI and her work. the vibes were all negative. We got it back on track in mile four and the rest of the walk was great.
Today, Kady gabe me my pre-deployment Honey Do List. I went to Goodwill, the Library, filled up Bess, bought Ice, installed the dusk to dawn lights on the porch, washed the grill, put away grill, chairs, umbrella, and took out the recycling snd trash.
I did all this while Kady was getting her hair cut. It's super cute. She picked me up after and took me to Burger King for a Whopper and onion rings. Craving Quenched.
Tonight, KS, Ann, and I watch Enough with Jennifer Lopez. I love the kick-ass portion of this movie.
Monday, 29 June 2020: Monday Off
Since the movie went so late last night, KS and I decided to take a morning off from our walks. Kady and I slept in. I worked on the Old Journal all day, finally finishing the re-format. Done!
28 June 2020: A Pact and A Movie
Promising we'd meet for a walk every day until I leave, KS and I hit the trails at 8 am this morning. it was already close to 80-degrees out.
We opted for shade and the more rustic trails below Baker-Butler Elementary School. It hasn't rained in days, but. still, the trails were muddy.
We didn't care; we're beasts!
We took the path down to Arber Lake, then left down Timberwood Parkway, the right on Timber Pointe Road to the trailhead.
We followed the main trail south to the switchback up to Turnberry Circle, left on Shadybrook Trail, and then right onto Timberwood Parkway. We went straight back to the house from there.
Down on the trail, someone has planted some metal art, a nice touch, though not overly artistic, but, then, I don't grok most "Art." I'm thinking maybe some dip bars, pull-up bars, push-up stations, and sit-up platforms, a fitness trail, would be nicer.
Tomorrow we're going at 7 am; it cooler then and she has a conference call at 9.
Later: Kady and I went to dinner at their place and Jay brought Chinese from Taste of China, our favorite. I've been craving Chinese all through the Pandemic Lockdown, and this meal hit the spot.
After supper, we went home while Jay and KS put Emmy down for the night, then we went back to watch a creepy flick, Sinister, with Ethan Hawke.
It was definitely creepy. We got home a little after midnight.
Saturday. 27 June 2020: Neel Family Morning
This morning, the Charlottesville Neels met at Arbor Lake for a couple of laps, great conversation, and family time.
There was a mix up between Jay and Kady about where we were to link up (KS and I should have taken charge)and Kady and I waited a while. A text fixed the issue and they joined us where we were sitting on a bench, in the shade, overlooking the lake, enjoying the cool breeze and birdsong. After much discussion and laughter, we all decided it was Jay's fault. I think Jay believes it was his Mom's fault, thigh the text record is pretty conclusive.
Em was a bundle of energy out there this morning, running circles around the group, running too far ahead, and climbing trees. She's a bit of a free-range personality.
Ks and Em rode back to our house with us while Jay went for brunch. Bodo's Bagels was his suggestion and everyone agreed. Bodo's is a must when in Charlottesville. I had the plain bagel with egg and bacon. It was fantastic. My Cinnamon-Raisin Bagel with Blueberry Cream Cheese was amazing. I shared that.
Em and I had a good bit of Grandfather-Granddaughter time, before and after food. We played guitar, sang some Puff the Magic Dragon, and talked about the Moon Landing, using my Lego LEM as a training aid.
Everyone had such a good time, we've planned another before we leave.
Thursday, 25 June 2020: Walking with KS
KS and I went for another walk this morning.
First, I had to drop off Kady's car at the shop so they could fix a rumbling in the fan. When we turned the fan on high, it sounded a little kike a C-130 taking off in our dashboard. I guessed that they did something wrong when they replaced the cabin filter last week, so I took it back to Airport Road Auto.
They were real, nice about it when I dropped it off. I walked to KS's house, arriving a little early, fifteen minutes, and she was still in bed. I played with Brasso until she and Em came downstairs.
Our walk was a good one, 5-miles around my normal course, less the leg from my house to the school. We talked about everything, as we are apt to do. The miles go by quickly when we walk together and she makes it seem like less work.
It was that way with Jay, yesterday, but today it was last hot, with a nice breeze, and a lot of shade.
As soon as we got back to their house, the shop called to say the car was ready. KS and Em drove me over and dropped me off. No Charge.
One Thing a Day for today, DONE! Erase Pig.
In all, I walked 6.5-miles this morning.
Kady and I are going over there tonight for Margaritas, Tacos, and Games.
Wednesday, 24 June 2020: The Rivanna Trail
The Rivanna River snakes through Charlottesville and Albemarle County, providing the County's water and recreational opportunities for the people who live here. Named after the river is a community trail system that circumnavigates the river, The Rivanna Trail.
I have planned to go to walk portions of it many times, but have never gotten around to it. Today, Jay and I went for a 5-miler there.
He picked me up at Noon and it was already in the 80s out. Luckily, most of the trail was shady. My liter of water went quickly.
We parked at Greenbrier Park, taking the trail down to the creek. Where Kady and I went left a few months ago, Jay and I went right. The trail is well maintained and water crossings are either on bridges, planks, blocks, or rocks. One crossing had a cable to use as a handrail. We followed the markers, around the north edge of the neighborhood, then to the southwest, crossing under 250, west across 29/Emmet Street, to the ruins of the old Poor House on the other side of Barracks Road.
We turned around there and went back to the car, a walk of 5.4 miles.
After my shower, I crashed for about three hours, wiped out from our little excursion.
I've been static at 218 pounds for a while now. Maybe Jay's walk will take me below.
Tuesday, 23 June 2020: My Back Space
My back patio is finally set up with all the things.
I have my speakers, wifi, a space-bar, my laptop, cigars, lighter, cutter, ashtray, and whiskey, all in a small package ready to go out there when the mood hits me and the weather is nice.
Just in time for the extremely hot June weather. Brilliant!
I got a haircut today, much needed. I got up at 6 am, drove to Lexington after breakfast, and made my appointment at Buck's Barber Shop about fifteen minutes early. Cindy sat me in the chair and said, "That's a lot of hair."
I walked out the door about five minutes later, about five pounds lighter.
I drove around town a bit and then drove to the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed north. There were a few bikers, a few cars, and a few bicycle riders there, all headed south. I kept Bess around 45, not wanting a ticket, but didn't see an officer the whole time. I was home by 11 am.
Friday, 18 June 2020: Kady's Birthday
Tuesday, I took Kady's car to a new place for servicing, before our trip to Kansas. Tired of taking our cars to the Ford place in Lexington and unhappy with the responses I got from Mallory Ford here in Charlottesville, I decided to try a highly recommended place just down the road, Airport Road Auto. Jay uses them and likes them a lot, so, having just a few things needing to be done on the car, I thought I'd give them a try.
It went well and I am Impressed.
I signed up for an appointment online and they responded quickly with a confirmation. Arriving, I noticed how well organized and clean the place looked. Parking was easy. Inside, I was greeted at the door, and the man behind the counter, took my details down on a Post-it rather than running me up on a computer. I was in and out in about thirty seconds.
They communicated with me via phone before doing any additional work and everything they suggested, I knew needed to be done but was putting off. I let them do them.
They called just after lunch, the price was way less than I expected, and I was out of the shop in about two minutes.
This is a good company.
Wednesday was Kady's Birthday. She is still nine-and-a-half years younger than me, though now, 86% of my age. When we married she was only 67%. She's catching up. We went to Jay and KS's house for dinner, gifts, and cake. They gave her jewelry. The cake was good enough to have two slices. I had heartburn all night.
They also gave me an Ember Coffee Mug for Father's day. If you don't have one, you should look into it. It will save your coffee drinking experience, especially if you are a one-cup-a-day person like me.
The re-vamping of my Journals continues. I have figured out the most streamlined way of doing that in HTML, but, still, it takes a whole day to do a year's worth of entries. Yesterday, I fixed 2015.
In happy news, I found a site where I could safely download MS Expressions Web 4. Goodbye Blue Griffon.
Today, I'm supposed to go walking with KS but it looks nasty out there. We'll see.
Sunday, 14 June 2020: Shuttle Craft Problems
My XPS-15 Laptop (the Shuttle Craft) has been experiencing some booting issues and it looked like the hard drive was failing. Thinking it was set up like my Desktop (the Star Ship), where I'm typing now, I figured replacing the hard drive would be best and that the process would be easy. I ordered a nice little solid-state drive from Amazon and it came in two days. I took out the old drive and nothing.
I realized, very quickly that the whole operating system was on the hard drive and that I should have cloned it before replacing it. I called SS and Jay for advice. I didn't want to mirror the old device in case the problem was file corruption and not failure, so I had to start all over.
First, I had to go to Microsoft's page, log in on my account, and build an Image (ICO) to load Windows onto the new hard drive. It went amazingly well; the new drive is much faster. Once loaded, I had to go through the Windows 10 set-up steps.
Next, I needed to download drivers, but couldn't, until I had a driver for my WiFi device to connect to the internet. Luckily, I had a hard drive cable from when I was building the ill-fated server from my old desktop, so I hooked up the old hard drive, found the driver, transferred it to the new hard drive, and then went into Device Manager, Network Adapters, and pointed my WiFi card to it.
Problem Solved. Next, Chrome, because that's what I use and it has all my pages and info.
The next thing I did was to go to Dell's site, sign in, and downloaded Support Assist, ran it, and downloaded everything it suggested. Magic.
I moved out back because the day was too beautiful to waste, linked to my outdoor network, and began loading programs that I use, like Adobe Photoshop Elements, Filezilla, Open Office, Clip Grabber, and Logitech. There are a few I still need to get, but almost everything went well.
My one big issue of the day was finding a copy of Microsoft Expressions Web-4, the program I have been using for years to edit my site. I couldn't find it anywhere and the sites that came up in my search were filled with false download links and scams. You have to be careful. OK, it's time to switch publishers.
I'm trying out Blue Griffon, and good WYSIWYG publisher and I like it. I'm using it now. Though it doesn't have some of the tools I have used on Expressions, it fits in well with my "doing things in HTML" plan and is very clean.
So, I was a big day of learning and I am all repaired and ready to travel and to go out back and write. As it turned out, all of the mistakes I made on the server, and continue to make, have helped me become more proficient with computers. I'm getting dangerous.
Monday, 7 June 2020: Out Back
I had the best time out back yesterday, writing, listening to my music, working on my site. I love the space I've created.
DJ and I had a good coffee video chat, so the WI-FI is working perfectly. All The Things.
I wrote about Lynne. That was hard. I can't believe she's gone. I have some tweaking to do with the story, then I'll post it.
Today, after my walk, where I got thoroughly lost in the woods and had to pull up my location on Google Maps, Jay and Jk came over to view the computer stuff that may help Jk with his Gaming. The lad is in the top 10% of players, nationwide, playing on a laptop. I gave him 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB M.2 Stick, a dual monitor Graphics Card, and a 22-inch Monitor.
Saturday, 30 May 2020: Launch
Kady and I just watched the NASA-Space X launch. It was perfect. Well, the feed was lost as the main stage was landing and came back on showing the engine sitting on the landing pad. I wouldn't put is past Space X to switch to a recording of a successful landing to make the launch LOOK perfect. I'm not being negative, just pragmatic about what I see on TV.
Photo from the Web
Anyhow, we launched and the coverage was cool, very techy, split-screen, including a dashcam of the crew compartment. America back in space.
I'm pooped. I finished up Kady's car today, treating the rubber, plastic, and leather, vacuuming the carpets, and cleaning the windows. Bess is next.
I weighed in at 218.2 this morning, down 26-pounds. Looking good; feeling good.
I've begun tracking COVID numbers again. I don't believe the "record high" news stories. Hell, if you get one more case it is a Record. High daily numbers reports should also be suspect. We're testing more people now that we have the capabilities.
Saturday, 6 June, 2020: Jk's Birthday
Today was Jk's thirteenth Birthday.
Kady and I went to their house about Noon, the first time we'd been there since March. It was good to see everyone. Besides Jay, KSN, Em, Kady and I, were Ann and Bee.
We had pizza delivered, ate cake, and then played Drawful, which I suck at, but endure because everyone else loves it. I just don't have the imagination for this game.
The balance of the day was spent setting up WIFI in the back of the house. I figured out that the phone lines in this house, which will never again be used, are CAT-5 Cable. I borrowed a crimping tool from Jay, installed RJ-45 Connectors, ordered a couple of parts, and then connected it all.
It didn't work.
I had to snip off the ends, and re-install everything, making sure I had the eight pairs of wires in the right positions. I hooked it all up again and it worked great. I'll test it out tomorrow.
Tuesday, 26 May 2020: Follow The Rules
Well, that whole wash, wax, photo Bess plan didn't happen.
I'm obsessed with working on my web page. I designed a header graphic that I like, reworded a few introductory things, and created link buttons. I like the new look a lot.
I got on the scale Sunday and I had a big rebound. It seems I've been snacking way too much. Sunday and Monday I stayed faithful to the program, no snacks at all. Kady and I made burgers on the grill for Memorial Day. They were delicious, lean, and I didn't grab a mitt full of chips to go with it. Better.
Another Kans-ass trip is in the works because NTC is back on for the kids, so, I get Cooper time while they are gone. I have to keep telling myself, "It'll be great."
This weekend is Jk's birthday and we're going to Jay and KS's house for a small party, dinner, and games. Jk's choice. It'll be our first contact with them that is not through the storm door as they drop off or pick up items off of our porch.
I just finished Radiolab's "The Other Latif." Inconclusive. A good story, but I was left thinking, "or, maybe he's another terrorist that says he didn't do it." But it was informative. The description of the Gitmo problem was spot on. By breaking the Laws of Land Warfare, we have created a bad situation. This is what happens when civilians and intelligence organizations have too much power. We would be miles farther along had we treated these POWs by the Geneva Convention and like the country we're supposed to be.
Yeah, I get the arguments. Robert Gates once asked a group of cadets and cadre at TAMU "What would you be willing to do to stop another 9-11?" His question was a leadership exercise showing us that we all have a cut-off, things we would not do, even to stop another terrorist attack. As a soldier, I could not bend those rules. Even if ordered to torture or mistreat a prisoner, I would have to refuse.
The prison at Guantanamo Bay is a blight on America. We should all be ashamed.
Sunday, 24 May 2020: HTML
I have begun writing my web page in HTML, rather than using a publisher. The publisher I have been using adds HUGE amounts of code. It was nasty, hard to edit, caused issues, and was generally a pain in my ass. Now my pages are clean and smaller files.
I've begun using the default HTML font, Arial, to cut down on special style tags, which were the bulk of the problem. Now my average page has only six styles and they are consistent across the site. EASIER! This all has been a lot of work, but fun for me.
Kady and I have been out and about a bit, she, shopping, me, picking up Jimmy-John's, and we go walking. I do more miles than she does, though I use the rainy weather as an excuse to stay in.
She continually beats me in cards, but we are a great team solving the case we are working on with Hunt-a-Killer.
Today is Bess'es fifteenth birthday. I plan to wash and wax her up after my walk and then drive her somewhere to take her photo.
Friday, 15 May 2020: Out and About
Warmer weather and the arrival of my masks, finally, sparked a bit of movement out into Charlottesville for Kady and me. We went for a walk around the neighborhood. We were late getting out, so we had to stay in the shade as best we could; it was hot.
We walked down to the school, around the grammar school, and through the path through the woods back to the road, staying on the shaded side of the road back to the house.
Back home, we order food for pick-up. she got Jimmy-John's sandwich and I got a Cubano sandwich from Guajiros Miami Eatery, then drove to pick them up. Like a good citizen, I donned my mask, feeling a bit foolish, and went in each place for the food. Of course, I was the only person wearing one, but I was also the oldest person there.
The balance of the day I spent playing cards with Kady, reading out back under the shade of the patio umbrella, and taking a power nap.
Saturday, 10 May 2020: More Coffee
I began my morning with a small breakfast and texts to all my favorite Moms out there. I met up with A on Duo and we had a good talk. It was fun. I rarely get to talk to him one-on-one. He is the perfect guy for my little girl.
Kady woke up earlier than usual and asked for a Mother's day breakfast from McDonald's. Easy!
Now I'm waiting for lunch which Kady says will be Bonefish Grill delivery. Yes, please. I'm getting a steak and Bang-Bang Shrimp! Thirty ounces of coffee this morning. I'm fuckin' wired for sound right now.
I was watching Midnight in Paris Friday night, during which, I made a date for virtual coffee with Catherine for Saturday. I went back to the texts this morning and they were well worded and structured. I was glad about that because I was drinking. OK, I was drunk and I tend to say stupid shit when I'm drunk.
We met up on Duo at ten and had a blast. The Coronavirus was defeated by 10:30! Cate and John, The Lost Boys are on it. We talked about what everyone should be doing as we get back to work, what should happen next, and how we get things running again. She and I think alike. This is good because she is in Georgia and going back to work soon. She's smart and has a Masters in this kind of thing, so I won't worry about her.
I was happy she liked my title of "Disease Vector" for any little kid on a bike not keeping their distance. Expect to hear it in official briefings soon.
At the end of our talk, I asked her what the rest of her day looked like. With a sly little sideways look and a twinkle in her eye, she said she was going to get dressed, go get her hair done, then her nails, and then go bowling. I love this girl's wit.
Tuesday, 5 May 2020: Cultural Misappropriation by Computer
This morning I linked up with Sal on Duo for a coffee. It has been a while, though we text often and he sends photos of his little girl.
There was none of the coronavirus talk I've had with others, just positive thoughts about how this could refocus some of us on what is important, Family mostly.
We kept it short so he could get to work.
Today being Taco Tuesday and Cinco de Mayo, Kady made Tacos for lunch. I gorged myself. It was fantastic.
We scheduled Games and Margaritas with the family, but KSN had a headache.
Still, we met on Hangouts and it was a laugh riot. We played only one game of Drawful and I hate that game. It's fun, but I suck at it.
Friday, 1 May 2020: A Pretty Full Day
I just set up a Virtual Coffee with Sal. Excellent. I miss that boy. This morning was my coffee with Ed. That was super fun. We are so alike.
After we hung up, I started getting my day on track. I changed the AC filter in the attic, cleaned my grilling tools, set up the new grill, pit away some old uniform items from the shed into the attic, and fixed my journal page transition problem I've had for a while.
Kady had the chicken kebabs ready for me to cook by 1300, and we ate at 1400. She also made coos coos and a salad to go with.
After lunch, I drove Bess over to Jays to drop off examples of the Lavazza coffee for them to try. When I was leaving, I ran into Bee coming in from work at the hospital looking very cute and tired in her scrubs and mask.
I still found time to clean the grill, for cards with Kady, and to take a power nap.
Thursday, 30 April, 2020: Virtual Coffee on a Roll!
My Virtual Coffee Date this morning was Jay. We spent the morning solving all of the country's problems, chose Joe's running mate, and fixed the Space-Link satellite problem. It's always fun talking to Jay; he is so well-informed.
Tomorrow is my best buddy Ed over in Dallas and Saturday is Rebecca outside DC.
It's rainy here today, so my Kabab cookout is on hold again. I built another Ruben for lunch. It was scrumptious.
The weather continues to be a downer. I need a long walk, but refuse to go walking in the rain and cold. Tomorrow looks promising.
I started watching The Good Fight on CBS. Damn Good. Hello Christine Baranski and Rose Leslie! I'm at the end of season one and Fisher Stevens just showed up. I love that guy.
Wednesday, 29 April 2020: Virtual Coffee Dates
I have begun setting up video coffee dates with my people, one a day, to go along with my ten ounces of coffee per day. I started with E on Tuesday, today was KS, tomorrow is Jay, and Eddie is on Friday.
I'm working on Sal and Rebecca, and then I need to contact Catherine, Rog, and Ryan and see if they can do one. I'm thinking I could extentd this to Birmingham and Turkiye friends as well, though, time-wise, I should probably meet my Turks for Drinks.
Everyone should try this.
For lunch, because of technical difficulties, Kady made homemade pizza instead of building Chicken Kebabs for me to grill. It was a perfect day to grill, but . . . PIZZA! After lunch, we went for a 2-mile stroll around the school and back.
I picked up groceries at Harris-Teeter last night. Those poor kids. They were covered up.
Sunday, 26 April 2020: Coffee makes it Better
Eating only two meals a day makes it very important that those meals be very enjoyable. Kady helps. She's a master at making delicious meals, which I have convinced her to make for lunch.
When she doesn't make lunch or gets up late because she has been up all night doing what Kady does, I make something simple like my Harb's Turkey Sandwich, John's Ruben, Hot Ham and Cheese, or my version of Ranelli's Number Two Italian Sausage Sandwich.
I make my breakfast while she sleeps. Coffee is a big part of that. I rotate my breakfasts. I do a Mediterranean Day of boiled eggs, Kalamata olives, Feta cheese, dolmas, and bread with mint jelly. Alabama day is two eggs over easy, grits, and bacon next. Omelet Day consists of different varieties. I split these days up with Cereal Day of Kellogg's Special K. Bacon is every day except cereal day, sometimes substituted with ham. For a little variety, I add some yogurt or fruit, usually a Clementine or one of Kady's too-ripe-for-her bananas. Seriously, she eats them green, and then I get the ones left to ripen.
I have my favorite coffees, usually made in my Keurig, but I also grind beans to make either Turkish or French Press. The Keurig pods always in my jar are Green Mountain dark magic, McCafe' Hazelnut, Great Value Columbian, Folgers Black Silk, and Gevalia Cappuccino and Mocha Latte. My New Favorite is Lavazza Perfecto Espresso Roast. I like the Lavazza so much I ordered everything they make for the Keurig.
Today, I tried having a video coffee date with DJ. She's in NOVA, working 6-days a week, and single, so when I suggest we try it, she readily agreed. We got to know each other over coffee, so it made sense. Part of her job is screening people as they come to work, so I think she must be at risk. I needed to see her face and talk to her about that. It went well and we had a lot of fun.
I think I'll try Virtual Coffee with others. It'll be a thing. Kady made a Southern Sunday Lunch once she got up. . . black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes, fried ham, and cornbread muffins. It was amazing. I gorged myself.
Thursday, 23 April 2020: Tracking the Numbers
I've been keeping track of the National and Virginia Coronavirus numbers since 14 March. I'm using only the CDC numbers and those on the Virginia COVID site.
Here's what I see:
For the last eleven days, our national rate-of-rise has been below 10%. For the last six days, we have been below 5%.
We don't know the number of recovered cases. Taking the 14-day recovery norm, I estimate that our current cases are about 400, 981, or .001225% of the population.
Total deaths from this disease have been, so far, 46,379 people, or .000142 of the population.
I'm with the Prez. We need to be smart, take it slowly, and get back to work. If you're running a company, of any kind, you need to be prepared to test employees, daily, at the door. Have a way to test temperatures. Ask questions: Headaches, Upset Stomach, coughing, difficulty breathing. Send people home who fail. Require Facemasks, buy hand sanitizer, and Clorox wipes. Distance workstations and tables. Be visible and enforce standards. Wash Hands and disinfect...a lot.
Kady and I, being high-risk people, are gonna stay in and watch what happens to all of you. My personal goal is to be at Jay's house on 27 May to watch the NASA/Space-X launch with three generations of Neels.
Meanwhile, I'm still walking, while dodging the little bike-borne disease vectors, keeping sane planning what I'll do when released, and watching Blue Bloods, Troy: The Fall of a City, and the New Amazon series Tales from the Loop.
I'm terrible at Spanish.
Rhiannon Giddens! Listen to her music.
Sunday, 19 April 2020: Message To the Next Inhabitants of Earth
I just listened to one of the latest Radiolab episodes, "The Cataclysmic Sentence," which aired on 18 April 2020. It asks, What is the one thing you'd pass on if we all disappeared tomorrow?
As I listened to the episode, I thought through the question . . . What would I tell the next organism to develop intelligence, or tell the humans recovering from a major cataclysm?
The show began telling the story of a physics professor who was tasked with revamping the curriculum of Physics 101 at his university. He began by explaining Atoms. The cast of the show all interviewed people from different disciplines with different ideas. Some would leave Love, others Art, one suggest God (female of course), another the workings of the solar system. The ended with Music and what one lady called the Primordial Chord.
Most missed the intent of passing as much useful information in the shortest sentence possible.
Five minutes into the story, I had Mine: "There is no god."
Realizing that there is no god is certainly not one of the most important discoveries of mankind, but the belief in god and gods has crippled learning throughout human history and has caused untold suffering from the first time a human came up with the idea.
Imagine a society built from the beginning, understanding this truth. What would they avoid? Think!
No despots claiming divine appointment, no religious wars, religion-based Persecution
No religious oppression of discovery and science
No blowing money and effort on Mega Churches, Cathedrals, Temples, Pyramids
No child-molesting Priests
No pastors flying around in jets
No holy days
No religious-based Governments, holocausts, assimilations, slavery, bigotry
Imagine the path of discovery if we knew things didn't have meaning and that they were not controlled by a higher power.
I got it, there would still be atrocities, man being man, but maybe they could dodge the excesses of religious fervor.
I would want to live in that world.
During the interviews, the Solar System guy agreed with me, but as an afterthought and spoken like a joke, "Oh, and God doesn't exist, Ha, ha, ha." I don't see his humor. Has he never heard of Galileo? Hypatia? Bacon?
Monday, 13 April 2020: List of Things
I've made a list of things that I need to be doing, daily. They are in no particular order.
Read the News
Watch a Show or Movie
Play My Guitar
Work on My Site
Cards or Game with Kady
I've done well today, except for the walk. I dressed for it and left the house after the rain was supposed to be finished, but It began raining before I got more than two blocks down the road. Thanks, Weather Channel.
I did three sets of ten pushups today and It was hard. Never stop doing pushups.
I talked to my Marine, Rebecca, today. She posted a self-portrait of herself, upon which I had to compliment (such a gorgeous girl). Then we talked and talked, just like we once did in my office at work. I miss that about the place...when Cadets would come in my door just to talk. Of all my people, I feel for her the most during this time of separation. She is literally up here alone, separated from her very close-knit Cuban family in Miami.
I am pleased that she is continuing to work on her photography. She said she was getting some use out of the AE-1 program I gave her. My first mission in real life is to take photos of her myself.
In the continuing saga of backing up my files, my RSHTECH Hard Drive Docking Enclosure came in today. It took all of five minutes to install the 2-TB drive from my old computer, assemble it, and connect it. Now, it is sitting on my desk next to my screen, mirroring all my files. Ta-Da.
Tomorrow is Photo Trip.
Sunday, 12 April 2020: Mrs. Maisel
I'm binging Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. If you're not watching, you should be. Take it from me, this is the funniest show going. It's smart. well written, clever, and so 1950's America. The cars are spectacular. The sets are perfect. The clothes are amazing. The soundtrack has me listening to Sinatra again. I can't get enough of it.
I've been inside most of the past three days. I did go out and set up the back patio, swept the carpet, cleaned the table, got out the chairs, and put up the umbrella. It looks nice out there.
Yesterday, the wind died down and it was in the high 60's, so I got out my lounge chair and spent the afternoon reading. I'm reading the second book in David Gemmell's Troy trilogy, Shield of Thunder. I love this guy's writing; he is a great storyteller. In this series, you feel like you get to know the real people and times of the Illiad and get a fun tour of Archaic Greece and Asia Minor.
It is well worth the read.
Wednesday, 8 April, 2020: Re-stocking
Well. 225 was a plateau. In just a few days, with little exercise, I am down to 222, feeling better, sleeping better, and my walks are almost effortless. My left knee and right hip have stopped aching in walks. I bound up and down the stairs like a teenager. OK, maybe not like a teen, but better than I have in years. Say it with me, "Intermittent Fasting!"
Today, I went to do a grocery pickup at Wal-Mart. We did a big one, hoping to spend the next two weeks away from all the mess. It went well, save for the woman who drove into the slot right next to me, and got out of her car to talk to the poor guy loading my groceries. She is one of the idiots, wearing gloves, mask on but around her neck, and breaking the guys 6' space. There she was, spewing her germs all over my car, my groceries, and the poor guy.
I watched the Matrix. I had forgotten how good it was back then. It is still a timeless movie.
The HOA put in a replacement tree, a White Dogwood. I am pleased with their choice. Anything would be better than the Mulberry, but I was wary of what they might plant there. I didn't want a fruit-bearing or sap producing tree anywhere around my car. Hopefully, this little tree will thrive and become a good shade producer and large enough to put in a birdhouse and feeder.
It's rainy today, so I'm indoors all day. Time for more Matrix.
Monday 6 April 2020: Photo Trip
Kady and I went on a photo trip, a little adventure. just north of Orange, to photograph a church she had read about.
It wasn't that far away, we had a full tank of gas, the church would be the only stop, so we were confident we'd be safe.
We took along our cameras and some hand sanitizer, and drove a while in 29, turning on 607, then right on 33, left at 20, then right on 15.
The drive was spectacular as Virginia is every Spring.
The Church once a pretty little thing is now a tired old lady, falling from lack of care. Undeterred by the Private Property and Keep Out signs, we parked out back and wandered around for a while taking what photos we wanted.
On our way home we stopped at McDonald's drive-through for Kady's lunch and an Oreo McFlurry. A Chance? Yes. Worth it? Yum.
Saturday, 4 April 2020: Lego
I'm still tracking numbers. Albemarle County is reporting 27 cases. Most of Virginia's cases are in the Counties around Washington DC and over in Richmond. For the last few days, the percent infection rate has been in the mid-teens. This is all an estimation; the rise could be because of more testing. Suffice to say, this is not ending anytime soon, but the curve could flatten in the next few days.
I am looking for more things to do. For shows, I've tried Star Trek Discovery, but it sucks. I tried a show on CW called Legacies because Katie Garfield is supposed to be in it. Terrible. Five minutes into the show they were smoking weed and touting a lesbian couple's problems, and the special effects were really bad. CW has the worst shows on TV. They really screwed up Supergirl. Teen shows.
Blue Bloods is my savior. I love that show. It is consistently good. The Twilight Zone and Evil began well.
I've watched a lot of movies, but nothing remarkable. I've watched a few old favorites like Top Gun last night. That's a better plan I think. Rather than drudging through the weak offerings of Netflix, I should just watch movies I know I'll like.
I need something with a beach in it.
Continuing to help me through this, Kady bought me the Lego Lunar Lander. I put together the base last night and the Crew compartment today. It's adorable. It looks like two small aliens landed on my desk.
Wednesday, 1 April, 2020: The Old Truck
I went walking in the woods behind the lake again today, planning to photograph the old farm equipment with my big camera.
As I climbed the hill from the path, I spotted a tent in the trees. It looks like someone is living out there.
I changed my direction to stay away from the area, and my path took up to a fence-line, behind which was an old Ford dump truck. I took lots of photos of it and shared them with SS.
It's a Ford Dump Truck from the 1930s. Very Fun.
That's it. Short post.
Monday, 30 March 2020: Breaking a Plateau
For the last two weeks, I've hovered around 225 pounds, usually around 225.8.
This morning, I was 224.5, a little more than a pound of loss, but a huge hurdle for me. The trick has to be consistent walking combined with fasting.
I've been walking over five miles a day and I feel great.
Yesterday, I took my camera along and mounted the long lens, hoping to see the little blackbird again and get a better photo. I didn't see him, but there were about twenty Bufflehead ducks in Holly Mead Lake, the first I had ever seen. They were gorgeous, though they stayed in the middle of the lake, social distancing, I'm sure.
During my walks I have learned a few coronavirus things I'd like to share:
1. People are polite and friendly, usually, but stupid.
2. People do not know what six feel looks like. A sidewalk is NOT 6'-wide.
3. Don't wear earphones so you can hear people approaching from the rear. They don't care if you of a certain age and will stride right up on you spewing their coronavirus breath all over you if you are not aware.
4. People do not train their kids about safe distancing. Watch out for these little disease vectors; they will run right up to you on or right over you on their bikes.
5. You are responsible for your distance. Plan, make your move early, and give them a wide berth.
6. Big family groups are the worst. They are wide, pay no attention to anyone else, and tend to move to both sides of a trail when approached. Go Right, Fool! This Ain't England!
7. When giving way, watch where you're stepping, there are a LOT of bad dog owners out there. Cooper has trained me better than that.
Friday, 27 March 2020: Two Walks
Today and Yesterday, I had nice long walks. It has been great for my mood. It's good to see families out biking and walking together. At the basketball court, there were kids in small groups playing games. Someone wrote encouraging messages in chalk on the lake path. Everyone is respectful of distance, dodging left and right off the path to give-way to others. Larger groups are a little problematic as some members of the group go left and the others right. I try to make my move to the right well before they do to let them know which way they should go. Everyone speaks.
On my walk yesterday, there was a gorgeous redwing blackbird perched on a bush next to the lake, singing his little heart out, as only a blackbird can. I stopped and had a chat with him, took his photo, and left him with words of encouragement for his quest to find that perfect girl. I'm pretty sure the folks walking around the lake thought me quite crazy.
I finished Picard on CBS All Access. It was good. I wouldn't say great. I am having a better time watching missed episodes of Blue Bloods. I'm struggling with Star Trek Discovery. Seriously? A gigantic killer Tardigrade that uses spores to navigate space-time? Come On, Man!
Since this COVID-19 thing began, I've been keeping a spreadsheet on the numbers nationwide and here in Virginia. This is hard because the information is hard to find out there on the net. I've begun to rely only on the CDC numbers for national. Still, trying to do the math on numbers of people with the virus is impossible, because we are not testing everyone. I've seen the infection rate go from a steady 33% to a jump to 45%, but now see a decline in the rate to around 25%. That may or may not be good news. The math is good, but the data is suspect.
I think we're in for the long haul. Today, China announced that people who have had the disease and have recovered, are becoming re-infected. That's not good news at all and we better listen to it. Getting information from Virginia and from ESPECIALLY Charlottesville is harder. Virginia seems to have about 608 and, I think, we have ten cases.
Kady and I remain in self-imposed Quarantine until Tuesday Morning.
Wednesday, 25 March 2020: Half Done
Just six more days of self-quarantine to go. Once we're done, we'll take a look at how Charlottesville is doing and then decide on things we want to do.
First will probably be groceries. The local markets here are hosting senior hours that I, in my advanced years, can attend to pick up what we need. It's in the mornings, so the shelves should be better stocked.
Next, I want to go pick up take-out from our favorite places, to help with their businesses stay solvent. I'm thinking a burger from Martins would be great and I bet Kady will want a Jimmy-John's.
She has her eyes on a church she wants to photograph, so that's a safe near-future trip.
I had a 5-mile walk Monday and I want to keep that up. Most everyone maintained the 6-foot separation, except for one group of about six people, a family, who hogged the entire sidewalk and left the separation to me. I gave the idiots a wide berth. Most everyone seems in good spirits. Being outdoors is certainly good for my sanity.
I'm dying to go to the beach. My first trip will be to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park. My next plan is to go to Roanoke Island, see the Aquarium and the Lost Colony play there, drive up to Duck to photograph the horses, and then south to Hatteras.
The temperatures are going back up tomorrow and Friday. I hope to get in walks both days.
Monday, 23 March, 2020: Slowing Down?
I need a walk. It's cold and rainy out, but, tomorrow, no matter what, I'm walking.
I heard that today, eleven cases were identified at UVA Emergency Room, though I can't find a news article saying that. That's bad. Eleven in one day is bad. Up until now, we've only had four.
CBS All Access is my new friend. Picard is outstanding. I've also watched the first episode of Star Trek Discovery and it loos good as well. I'm watching a lot of movies.
Today was Agora with Rachael Weisz, a good story about the ancient Alexandria natural philosopher Hypatia, murdered by Christians in 415 CE for being a "witch." It was the perfect movie for my love of science and hate of religion.
Yesterday was One Day with Anne Hathaway, a good love story with ANNE HATHAWAY in it. Love Her!
Thursday, 19 March, 2020: A New Path
Kady pointed out the new path everyone on Next Door has been talking about. I went walking there today. It was nice, though wet. It made for a short walk, so I will only use it only every once in a while. When I got back home, I did a few things for Kady, and she fed me lunch, STEAK!
After Lunch, I washed my car cover and then pressure washed my parking slot, the sidewalk, and our front walkway. The dead tree had made everything nasty out there. It went to 80 today. Damn, it felt good.
After putting away the pressure washer, I cleaned the kitchen floor. Tomorrow, I plan to wash Bess, dry her, and then put the clean cover back on.
I watched an old Lea Thompson movie today. I love Lea Thompson. After, I watched The Windsors, then talked to Rebecca on Messenger.
Wednesday, 18 March, 2020: Stocking Up and Settling In
Yesterday I gassed up the car, picked up my meds, and picked up the pre-ordered groceries at Harris-Teeter. What we couldn't get from Harris-Teeter we ordered from Whole Foods, delivered through Amazon Prime. That was amazing. Kady ordered it, approved their suggested substitutions, and then tracked the delivery on the App. I stayed up to bring in the packages once they were dropped off on the porch.
So, we're hunkered down, waiting to see what happens.
Last night, I started virtually touring museums beginning with the Louvre. Their tour is slipshod at best. I'll give them a pass since it was probably put on-line in a hurry. Nice try, no cigar. The Pergamum Museum in Berlin was much better.
I'll try some American sites today. Kady picked up a list of feel-good movies on a girl's Instagram feed and sent the list to me. The first one I found was Chef with Jon Favreau, Sophia Vergara, and John Leguizamo.
I loved it.
Monday, 16 March, 2020: Driving through The Virus
Once we were sure E and A were not traveling, we thought it the better part of valor to leave before the pandemic got any worse. Luckily, our route was the I-70/I-64, East-West corridor, where there was little infection. We drove from Manhattan Kansas to Charlottesville, eating only at fast food places, resting at Rest Stops and stopping for gas, five of six stops in all.
We touched only what we had to and disinfected our hands after every stop.
Now we're self-separating ourselves from contact with others for fourteen days, expecting the we're good, but being careful for others in Charlottesville, especially the kids and grandkids.
So far, Charlottesville has only two cases.
Saturday, 14 March, 2020: Social Distancing
We stayed in yesterday. The weather here is nasty. Kansas now has eight cases of the virus. We used it all as an excuse to stay in, play games, and read. It was a quiet day, ended by a nice steak and potato supper. A is the MAN! My steak was thick, juicy, tender, and perfectly medium-rare.
A had taken Coop for his morning constitutional well before I got up, so I didn't go for a walk, until the afternoon. About 6 pm, Coop began whining, so I took him out and it turned in to a medium walk, exploring parts of the neighborhood I've never seen.
Our route took us to the hill behind the house, and through a less affluent housing area. At the top of the hill, there was this great house for sale, all modern, monochromatic, and angled, with a fully paved front yard. To me, it looked like something you might find in Arizona or California. I want to see the inside. If we're here a while, I may call the realtor. Too bad it is in Manhattan Kansas and on such a crappy street and lot. The view up there would be pretty nice if the other houses didn't exist.
I was too cold to take a photo of it, but will probably go back that way today. I'll take my camera.
E and A's Army plans that brought us out here have been canceled by the Stop Movement Order; no one is going anywhere. Once we get a final confirmation that their trips are off, Kady and I will probably travel back home. I plan to pack our food and water and to drive it all in one day, stopping only for Gas and Rest Stops. In doing so, I think we'll be completely safe as long as we stay away from other people and wash our hands. I think we'll be safer at home as well.
E and A will have to go to work, and there is a greater chance they will contract the virus from some soldier. I'm not worried about me. I am, however, concerned about Kady. Having gone through what she did last time we were here, I think this virus would be very hard on her and If she were to contract it, I'd rather she be close to UVA medical facilities.
Friday, 13 March, 2020: Cooper Walk
Cooper and I went out for our first walk this morning. We did only about two miles. The weather was cold and dreary and I was having no fun...except for being with Cooper.
He was ready to come in when we got back to the house.
I've changed my fast from supper to lunch and eat my breakfast at lunch time. The fasting thing continues to work. I'm down to 225 as of this morning. That's twenty pounds from my weight at New years. I can really tell it in my face and midsection.
Kady went shopping for a few essentials. Kansas is out of toilet paper too.
Thursday, 12 March, 2020: March Sadness
Kady and I are in Kans-ass. Dodging the Coronavirus all the way, we left Tuesday morning, staying in Lexington KY overnight, meeting up with E&A in Kansas City, Missouri last night, and then closing in on Manhattan Kansas today.
We washed our hands a lot.
We'll be here for about a month as A goes to school in Alabama and E takes part in a Pre-deployment in California. We're babysitting Cooper, my favorite thing.
Jay sent us word on the road that the Conference playoffs have all been canceled and that pro play is suspended. March Madness was canceled late this afternoon.
Likewise, E and A may not have to go on their respective trips, as the Army begins to stop movement. The USA has stopped all flights coming in from overseas except for US citizens. I expect more restrictions to begin shortly.
This is getting crazy.
The Tree is DEAD! The Home Owner's Association had a crew cut it down yesterday. I am more than happy about this. Bess is sitting in front of the house right now, no car cover, and I'm not worried about it at all.
One of the first things I'll do when I get home is pressure wash the parking places. Phase I of the Bess plan will begin after that with a wash and wax, a clean air filter, and then replace the brake pads. Then I'll get her inspected.
Phase II will begin after that with seat parts to replace the broken ones. Phase III will add new tires Phase IV will be a rear seat delete kit and tower brace.
Saturday, 7 March, 2020: Ikea Installer
After a lazy morning, Kady's hutch came in from Ikea, five packages, about 200 pounds of parts. This will be the new kitchen pantry, replacing the built-in pantry which is mostly used to house the fire suppression piping and controls. Basically, since we've been here, we've struggled for places to store our canned and dry goods.
I've had no place to keep my Gummy Bears.
The hutch idea was born and Kady found one in the same colors as her kitchen. With SS's help cutting he baseboard, we had it in place a few hours later. I did most of the assembly, a breeze you follow the instructions. I like Ikea's stuff. It assembles so easily, everything fitting just right. I like that they include a few extra parts. Nothing is more frustrating than when finding a part is missing while assembling an item...like my ceiling fan a few months ago.
As easy as it is, the getting up and down and crawling around on the floor is tough at 67. I was finished about 9:30 pm with everything, even the trash, took two Motrin and went to bed. I slept the whole night for the first time in months. Ikea is good for my fitness.
Friday, 6 March, 2020: Family Lunch
I took Kady, SS, Jay, and KSN to Guajiros today. I was happy that most everyone loved it.
Everyone but Kady got a Cubano.
She got a beef Empanada, fries and Cuban Toast.
SS got some Maduros and Jay got some Pastalitos. I tried it all and everything was delicious.
I don't think Kady liked anything but the fries and toast.
By the time we left, the place was full of people.
Thursday, 5 March, 2020: Bones
The Democratic race, after all the bickering and blood-letting in the debates, is down to two people, Sanders and Biden. Now, if the democrats left to vote are smart, they'll chose Vice President Biden. Bernie has no chance to win; he is just too radical. I think most voters can see through his pie-in-the-sky promises and know he can't deliver. I think we saw on Tuesday that he can't bring the votes needed to defeat Trump.
My thinking is that, if they nominate Joe, I can be satisfied with whoever twins the general election. I plan on voting for Joe, but if Bernie is nominated, I'll have to vote for The Donald. I do not like Bernie's socialist leanings.
I don't think we've seen the last of Warren or Buttigieg. One may get the nod for VP. The other campaigns are dead. Hopefully this is the last year we'll hear from Sanders, though his socialist agenda will live on unless the American educational system changes.
This afternoon I went for a walk along a new trail behind the house. It isn't very long, but it is really nice. It wins along the small creek that feeds our little pond, below the dam, and through the woods below the residential areas. I imagine it will be beautiful this Spring, Summer, and Fall.
When I got to trail's end, I climbed the little ridge above it, and wandered through the woods up to a farmer's fence. Over the years, the land owners have used the woods to dump broken farm equipment, leaving the broken machinery scattered around, rusting under the trees. The look like bones to me.
I missed the last half of my LeVar Burton Reads episode, thinking more about the photos I was taking than the story. I usually listen to an educational, mystery, or crime podcast while I walk. Radio Lab, Unexplained, and Serial are favorites. Recently, I heard an ad for LeVar Burtan Reads and decided to try it. I'm hooked. Give him a listen.
Tuesday, 3 March, 2020: Super Tuesday
Kady and I got up early, driving to Buena Vista for dental appointments. Afterwards, we went to lunch at Foothill Mama's BBQ, under new management, and clearly not as good as it once was. I had the pork chops, potato salad, and baked beans, and I could tell a huge difference in all three. Kady didn't like anything and said, "The vibe was off."
We drove back to Charlottesville, stopping at Hollymead Elementary to vote in the democratic primary. We both cast our votes for Joe.
For the rest of the day we settled in and watched the primary results, glad to see Joe doing well.
Monday, 2 March, 2020: Cravings
I have re-re-joined Facebook. I'm weak, I know.
I had three reasons:
1. This will be a planning year for the WHS '71 Fifty-year Class Reunion and I want to be a part of that.
2. This fall, I want to go to the 2/505 Reunion.
3. I wanted to see Ryan's wedding photos.
I'm keeping the content on my page small and un-following "friends" who post political nonsense. I've had to unfriend and block a few and I need to watch who I accept. I forgot about these things.
I figure that if I keep my content friendly, I'll be able to take it.
I went for a good walk today. The trees are beginning to bud. Spring!
I have been craving and have found a great Cuban Sandwich. I noticed a place last week, Guajiros Miami Eatery, and tried it on Saturday. My Cuban was fantastic, the plantain chips were delicious, and the Cafecito was hot, sweet, and strong. The place is super nice on the inside. I've talked everyone but Kady into going back with me on Friday.
Thursday, 27 February, 2020: The death of a Computer
If AI begins to take over the world, the humans should hire me to get rid of the problem; I can destroy a computer like few others.
When Jesus, supposedly, said, "Ask and you shall receive," he should have also said, ask too much, and you're going to fry your motherboard. That is what I did. I asked too much of an old system that already had booting issues. Loaded Linux Mint, added a hard drive, tried to load FreeNAS on top of Mint. When that didn't work, I tried again, and again, and again, until I gave the poor computer a massive heart attack.
All my attempts at resuscitation were fruitless. Now it is serving as an organ donor. I'm keeping the case, the RAM, the fans, and the power supply, so that I can, one day, build my own computer, moderately priced, with mid-range performance , all solid state, and about 4TB of storage.
Or, I won't.
Based on this experience, I should save my money and do other things . . . purchase camera stuff, repair a few things or paint Bess, maybe both, or use it for travel. A retired man's over-active mind needs priorities.
Spread Sheet? I think so.
Monday, 24 February, 2020: Oops
Saturday, while trying to boot FreeNAS over Mint on my old computer, I accidently deleted the partition on my internal 2T HDD on my Main computer. In my defense, The way disc manager lists the drives is super confusing.
All my files, were still there, but I couldn't "see" them. So I had to re-discover the partition and put it back on the drive.
I called SS. He said, "Call Jay and wait for him." Doing just that, I still researched the problem, found a good step-by-step set of instructions, found a program I thought would work if it came to that, and anther program for recovering my files if the drive was doomed.
Jay came over Sunday.
He read what I had, and tried the instructions, but was confused as I was about the way the drives were listed. He chose the same program I had, AOMEI Partition Assistant, and, after paying for the standard download, it worked perfectly, easily.
After a hardy "THANK YOU!" to Jay, I was back in business.
This Server idea is costing me. In the process of creating the boot device for FreeNAS, downloading the Install Media and creating the Operating System Device, I almost destroyed one External SSD, and three Thumb Drives. I had to wipe, format, and partitioned them all with the partition assistant, which was time consuming, 6 hours at least.
I still don't have a server but I think I've figured out what I'm doing wrong. Kim is getting me two more thumb drives.
I'm certainly glad that I didn't lose the files. Mostly, they were backed up, but I would have lost a lot of my people photographs. I spent this morning backing those up to my external SSD and burning them to DVDs.
If I can get the server up and running, I plan on storing everything on two redundant HDDs, already installed.
Friday, 21 February, 2020: Lex Vegas
I had an optometrist appointment today, so I got up early, had a bowl of cereal, my coffee, uncovered Bess, and drove to Lexington. First stop was the bank for cash, then Buck's Barber Shop for a long overdue haircut.
Yeah, I know I said I was going to grow it out, but I was tired of that nonsense. I look like myself again. My time appreciation was off and I was finished at Bucks with an hour and a half before my appointment, so, I went to VMI. I saw Chris, Holly, Vergie, Gary, Kevin, and met the new sergeant major.
I'm good for another two years.
The appointment went well. My eyesight is good to go.
After, I had lunch at Muchacho Alegre, now in a new place, much nicer just across the East Lexington bridge. I had the steak and baked potatoe and it was as I remembered it, GREAT! I miss this place.
On my way out of town, I stopped at Wal-Mart for a few computer things, then drove Highway-11 back to Greenville, then 340 through Stewarts Draft to I-64. I drove the speed limit the whole way.
I took my cameras, hoping to stop along the way for some photos, but it was pretty cold and I couldn't see shit in the bright sun with my eyes still dilated.
I stopped and picked up Jimmy John's for Kady as I drove up 29. By the time I got home, I had the headache from hell, so I took a nap.
The rest of the day was spent trying to figure out how to make an FreeNAS OS Device so I can turn the old computer into a home server. I'm tired of that Linux crap. It didn't capture my interest at all.
Thursday, 20 February, 2020: Facebook, Round Two
Looking forward to two, possible, impending events, my fifty-year class reunion in Birmingham and another battalion reunion in Fayetteville, I decided to re-join Facebook so I would get the information.
My goal was to keep it small, joining only family, high school, and army friends. Being me and still detesting politics, I was wary of joining some people who had been Facebook Crusaders in the past. Rejoining groups was also problematic. Paratrooper groups are rife with right-wing politics.
This morning, after only two days, having only 31 friends, I have stopped following three people, two of whom were family, and removed one from my "friends." That's my rule this time: If you post political crap, and I'll either stop following you or, for really nasty stuff, I will remove you.
Four out of thirty-one, just over 10%. True to the old army leadership axiom says, "you spend 90% of your time on 10% of your soldiers."
I want my limited time on this platform to be enjoyable, friendly, and informative. Still, I joined the 2/505 Reunion Brothers group. I'll just have to purge posts coming from certain people.
Funny Though. I can't find the WHS '71 group, the number one reason I re-joined. Later: I just deactivated Facebook. Two days and it reminded me how much I didn't miss it. It is still the same of contentious political Bull Shit!
Monday, 17 February, 2020: Success
I weighed in at 228 this morning, sixteen pounds lighter than 1 January. I was planning to go get a Cuban sandwich today, but I'm celebrating by not feeding my face. Gotta have one soon though.
Sunday, 16 February, 2020: Help Received
The War Room is finished.
Whenever decorating, ask for help from the best decorator you know. For me, that's Kady. She has done this whole house, except for the War Room, up until yesterday, and it is amazing. I called her into my room after I flipped it, and had her tell me where my things should go on the walls.
It took us about an hour, but it was easy, and we got most of the important stuff on the walk, leaving a couple of things she thinks she may wish to use elsewhere in the house. End State . . . Amazing! I love it.
Saturday, 15 February, 2020: Opposite Day
I flipped my office Thursday so that my back is no longer to the door when I am at my computer. That put the day bed against the outside wall and split the bookcases one on each side of the room. The room sure seems bigger. Another plus is the natural light coming in the window on my left, unblocked by my right hand when I write.
I should have done this long ago but didn't want to rearrange the stuff on the walls. Kim says she'll help me do that tomorrow.
The Auburn at Missouri game tonight sucked. AU was missing their shit-hot freshman and couldn't buy a 3-pointer. It surely wasn't the crowd; the Missouri fans didn't come close to packing the arena. Too bad. Their lads played a great game.
In other sucky games, I played a shitty game of Azul last night at Jay's. We went over for supper, Venny's, and then had a quick game. KSN took Em to bed and then packed for a trip to NYC, so it was just Jay, Kady and me. I just wasn't on it. Jay beat us by about 15 points, a LOT in Azul.
Monday, 10 February, 2020: All The Things
Kady and I got up ready to do all the things we've been putting off for a while. First stop, the Xfinity Store. We cut down on our internet package, removed the phone line we have never used, and cut our bill in half. I still have HBO in case I need to binge Game of Thrones in the near future.
Next, we went to Jefferson coin to sell our coin collection. We got an extremely fair price for those item that were collectible or contained silver. The check went straight to savings.
We went by Goodwill to drop off a trunk full of things from the Kitchen Purge, then went for a grocery pickup at Wal-Mart. I love their pickup service.
Back home, I called Sirius to cancel the subscription on the Fusion. I had to get rude with the customer service rep to get her to cancel it. I didn't like doing that, but she just wouldn't listen. I finally had to say, "Listen to me, Little Lady. I'm not answering any more of your questions and I'm not keeping the service for any reason or at any price. Cancel my subscription now, please."
I think the "little lady" part did the trick.
I needed all this success this morning, because I finished the radio build yesterday, plugged in the batteries and it didn't work. I double-checked and triple-checked my work, and couldn't figure out why it didn't. If only Dad had been there to supervise. The project is not dead. I just need bigger parts, something I can see.
Sunday, 9 February, 2020: E's Birthday
I sent my daughter a text message this morning to wish her a happy birthday, even though she is in the "field." I know she probably won't get it until she gets home tonight.
Field. That is such a loose term in much of the Army. E is home ever night, sleeping in her own bed, a far cry from my days living out of a rucksack, sleeping in a fighting position, huddling under my poncho hooch in the pouring rain, or humping miles in the scorching heat.
Still, I know her days are long and her job is stressful. Gone are the days when an S-6 had only radios to worry about. Now there are computers, satellite communication, force trackers, and things I probably don't even know about. Bless her little heart and Happy Birthday!
Sorry I missed your birth!
Saturday, 8 February, 2020: Radio Build
As of this morning, I am down to 230 pounds, down from 245 at the beginning of the year. Two more pounds and I'll be down to my weight at retirement, still too large, but a continued move in the right direction. My ultimate goal is 200. I feel lighter, sleep better, and walks are less of a struggle.
Intermediate Fasting! Try it.
It's cold and windy out there, so I'm spending the day indoors, washing clothes, watching AU vs. LSU at noon, and doing computer file maintenance. No walk today.
I have a new project. Build an AM/FM/SW receiver and mount it in Dad's tombstone radio. I'm teaching myself now, building a small battery operated radio. The kit is pretty simple, but is teaching me how recognize components and their symbols and lets me practice my soldering. I began yesterday but my soldering iron crapped out on me. Not surprising for a Radio Shack iron, kept in the bottom of my tool bag, and not used since I put the new radio in Bess. When I took it apart to attempt a repair, I was amazes how cheaply it was made.
I have a new iron coming tomorrow. The next step will be to build a receiver, then an amplifier, buy a decent speaker, and then mount it all in the tombstone. Kim mentioned playing old radio shows on it so I may just buy a Bluetooth capable amp.
Sunday, 2 February, 2020: Super Bowl 54
Today was remarkable for a few things.
Kady got up and made breakfast. She made a chocolate pastry, eggs, sausage in Sister Schubert rolls, and hash browns. Though I had eaten my normal light breakfast a few hours earlier, I feasted on this offering, treating it like Lunch.
In the afternoon we all went to Jay-and-KSN's house to Em's birthday and the Superbowl. Bee and Ann were also there. That meant Birthday Cake and more food. We had chicken chili, cornbread muffins, mini-tacos, chips and salsa, Mexican Taco Dip. Jay, SS, and I had a "Hot Ones" wing eating challenge, though the hot sauces we had weren't that hot. It didn't go like I thought it would. At halftime, I asked Jay if he was ready and he said, "I've already eaten mine." That was absolutely not the deal. Sandy had some after I had mine.
I ate too much.
The game was fun, close until the end. KC came back with strong drives at the end, scoring two TDs to go up by four points, and then another to seal the deal. I'm happy for the team and the fans. I texted Catherine just before the game to let her know the Neels were cheering for her team. She sent me a photo of her with a string of Brussels Sprouts that she was preparing for their game party. I assume she must have a decent recipe, but sprouts don't sound like Super Bowl food to me. I have never developed a taste for them.
My sleep was restless.
Saturday, 1 February, 2020: Em's 5th
Today was Em's fifth birthday party. How is she already five?
The party was at Pikasso Swig, a hippy-dippy sandwich/craft-shop.
The staff was great, entertaining the kids, while we adults drank coffee and ate fun snacks.
About noon we ordered lunch. I had The Picasso, a turkey, melted brie, spinach, walnut and fig butter Panini. It was scrumptious.
I took a bucket-load of photos. Many of my shots were of the little restaurant. It had fun lights and was decorated as only a hippy craft place can be.
We had a lot of fun, but I think Em was a little overwhelmed.
I'm pretty sure if she could just spend the day with her Aunt Rachael, she would be happiest.
Friday, 31 January, 2020: A New Endeavor
SS drove up for the Super Bowl and brought back my old computer. I gave it to him to use with his farm security cameras, but it didn't have the power. After a short discussion, he and I decided I could use it to learn.
I have been wanting to set up a home server and to experiment with an open-sourced operating system. Like everyone in the world, I hate Windows owning my computer, Samsung owning my phone, and Google tracking every move and keystroke. The only recourse is to LEARN.
Five minutes after carrying the computer upstairs, I had it set up. I downloaded Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.3 on a thumb drive and, with SS's help, booted up the old computer. To get it to "see" the monitor, I had to strip out the dual monitor graphics card. It booted right up. While I was there, I stripped out all of the non-essential cards.
I took the brave scary step of downloading it onto my drive, wiping Windows, and it felt good. I spent the rest of the afternoon playing around with it., hot-wiring it for a time to the net, but ultimately re-installing the wifi card.
My first real experiment with it was loading Open Office. I started by deleting the office program that came with mint. That was easy. After downloading the Apache files, I watched videos until I found a guy who went step-by-step in the process, showing the commands to list and then load the files. It took me three tries but I got it. Typing in all of the command lines was a little daunting but I felt like I had really accomplished something.
The experiment continues. When done, I'll probably just stay with Windows. I'm weak.
Tuesday, 28 January, 2020: Aunt Barbara
I woke this morning to find out that Kady's Aunt Barbara died Monday night. It was sad news and though she was 93, it comes unexpectedly. She had a few issues, but it looked like she would last a few more years. Poor Sweetie.
Barbara and her husband Luke were the members of Kady's family with whom I was closest. I imagine a lot of people could say that. They were the most gracious people and loved to entertain. Many great summer days were spent at their house on Lake Logan Martin in Alabama. Luke always had a boat and loved driving as we kids skied or rode floats.
Barbara loved to cook and entertain. Her cream corn was like eating candy.
Technically Bill's half-sister with a handsome Syrian father and gorgeous European mother, Barbara was a stunningly beautiful woman into her 90's.
When Kim and I were dating and I decided to go back into the Army, we practically lived at their house in Raleigh on weekends. Actually, we DID live there. Like Bill and Sylvia, they never once doubted our relationship and were very supportive. When we got married at Fort Bragg, we went to their house a few days later. Barbara had made us a wedding cake. When Luke died, she moved to San Antonio to be close to her son Terry, but maintained her independence, keeping a little home and driving until last year.
Last I talked to her, asking family questions, she told me how tired she was. I am certain she was ready to be with Luke. Barbara was a fine Christian Lady who lived what she believed. Her life was amazing.
Saturday, 25 January, 2020: Game Night
I ate light at Breakfast and Lunch, anticipating chili at KS and Jay's tonight. It is the first time I have broken Fast since starting, but I don't feel bad about it, and I don't feel stuffed. I ate sensibly and turned down the last cornbread muffin. Good Boy!
The kids finished the game of Risk we put on pause a week ago. Jay took out Kady down in Australia, took her cards, turned in for 45 Armies and wiped KS off the board. He was lucky. Had he not gotten a turn in with Kady's cards, KS would have won; she had three matching cards.
Rather than starting another Risk game, I suggested Azul, We played two games. Kady won the first and I took the second. I love that game.
I went on a long walk today and for some reason it kicked my ass. I think it did because I went late in the afternoon, after lunch. It was so nice out that I wore shorts and a sweatshirt.
Friday, 24 January, 2020: Lunch and a Musical
With the Intermittent Fasting I'm doing, comes some great benefits. I sleep better, I don't have acid reflux, I've lost weight, down from 246 after the New Year trip to Ashville to 131, and my jeans aren't so tight.
With fasting also comes cravings! I think about Brownies all the time. Peanut M and Ms (Party Pack), a Bucket Chicken (Extra Crispy, Dark Meat), Oreos (Packages), Dressing and Gravy (Kady's), Chinese (Tong Dynasty), PASTA, and Lots of Milk!
All of these things are ridiculous, so it has been pretty easy for me to stay the course. Pretzels help.
Lunch today was at Vinny's Italian Grill with Kady, Jay, and KS. I had the Baked Spaghetti, which hit the spot! Vinny's is just across Highway 29 from the house, but I have to stay away from there. I love all their food and would look like a blimp if I ate there as often as I would like.
After lunch, KS joined me at the house to watch Brigadoon, which she had never seen. Kady and Jay, don't like musicals, nor anyone else in the family, so it is great that KS does and is willing to watch them with me. She has watched Cats, Phantom with me, and now Brigadoon. Next is Funny Girl.
She liked Brigadoon. Poster from the Web.
She also likes war movies, so we're making a list of a few good ones to watch together. First on the list is Thin Red Line.
Maybe The Four Feathers, Breaker Morant, The Wild Geese, . . .
Thursday, 23 January, 2020: Haunted Atmospheres
"Sometimes in the night I feel it, near as my next breath and yet untouchable." ~ Dan Fogelberg.
How I miss that man's genius. I believe he had special knowledge and insight we mere mortals will never see.
Since retiring, I have been having a lot of stressful dreams. They usually involve a military movement of some sort where I am completely unprepared. Either I don't have the required equipment of my gear is not rigged or packed properly. In these dreams, I am just not "Squared Away."
Once I'm awake, I lay there wondering what the hell this is all about. Why am I dreaming about something so unlikely, over and over?
I was a good soldier and from the time I was a private, I was always prepared and ready. My gear was serviceable and clean. My A-bag and Ruck were always packed. My chute, weapon's case, and ruck were always rigged perfectly. I never had a deficiency during jumpmaster inspection (JMPI). I never missed Line of Departure (LD) Time.
No trooper was ever hurt on one of my aircraft. I never missed Station Time. With the exception of one impossible mission to build a battalion-sized crossing point across Little River, where the plan went to absolute shit after a torrential downpour, I accomplished every mission handed to me.
Now that I am no longer wearing the uniform, are these doubts? Is it because I have nothing to do to gauge my worth or effectiveness? Do I feel like I have left things undone?
I'm guessing that because I have thrived on the challenges thrown at me over the years and have loved the problem-solving, now that I have none, my brain is adjusting.
"Down the ancient corridors, through the gates of time, run the ghosts of dreams that we left behind. . . Death is there to keep us honest and constantly remind us we are free."
If only Dan was still here to help.
Wednesday, 15 January, 2020: A Watermark
I have been trying to design a simple, fast watermark for my photos. SS, always my best critic, told me over Thanksgiving that my notes at the bottom of my web photos were a distractor. He didn't say "amateurish," but that is how I came to look at them.
It has taken about two days of experimenting and learning, AND getting SS's opinion to get something I like and with which he agrees. I've always been a "less is more" kind of guy, but I kept wanting to add to it. Lose this and lose that were his normal comments. SS always had good reasons. Here's an example of my finished product.
Once I had it figured out, it was pretty easy to do in Photoshop. It's standard Vivaldi font in italics, in three different sizes, typed into a transparent workspace, and saved as a brush. Now, all I have to do to add it to a photograph is size it, chose color and opacity, and then paint it where I want it. The hardest part of the process is finding the photographs on my computer and I have a great organizational system.
Tuesday, 14 January, 2020: Birthday #67
E and A called this morning to wish me a happy birthday. Their gift, a Bose Micro Speaker, came in the mail tonight. It was very well received and I promptly named it "Tater," one of the many random choices Bose gives you.
I keep it in my bathroom so I can listen to my tunes while I shower and shave. Kady says it sounds like a 12-year-old girl when I'm in there.
Kady took me to lunch at Sultan Kabab. It was yummy.
She's the best!
Monday, 13 January, 2020: LSU
Good on you, LSU, National Champs and well deserved.
The stars are realigned. The trophy is out of the ACC and back in the SEC where it belongs. My biased view of the football universe is once again secure. It was a trouncing.
Clemson is a good team but they were soundly whipped by LSU, saying what everyone has been saying about both team more clearly than the sports analysts could ever say it. Clemson was untested and LSU is, maybe, the best team in college football of all time.
I would point out that LSU only beat Auburn at home by seven points, except for AU's pitiful loss to Minnesota. So, AU is number 14 at the end of play. Good. Maybe they will take Bowl games more seriously in the future. Chances of that? Zero Percent.
I washed Kady's Car and detailed it today. It wore me out. Bess is next.
Sunday, 12 January, 2020: Stormy Weather
Pickens County Alabama was hit with a tornado last night. Again, tornadoes are one big reason we live in Virginia and not in Alabama.
I went for a walk yesterday and the weather hit before I got back to the house. I was drenched, but it felt good to go out walking.
I've begun an Intermittent Fasting program, eating breakfast and lunch, but nothing after 1 pm. That's a 16 or 17 hour fast, depending on what time I eat breakfast. I've cut out sugar and almost all bread, though I'm bot being a Nazi about it all. I feel better and sleep better. I've lost a little weight. If I add walking to my regimen, I think it'll be easier to lose, but I'm still nursing the pulled muscle in my back. Tomorrow I'm walking no matter what.
In great news, I finally convinced Kady that the tree out front need to go. Actually, after talking myself blue in the face, she finally agreed when we got back home from Asheville and my car cover was completely covered in rotten Mulberries. She called the Home Owner's Association person and they took a look and have agreed to cut it down.
It's not down yet, but it should come down soon.
My 67th Birthday approaches. Yikes! My dad died at 67. That is a one serious reason for retrospection. I'm going to be really careful this year. Pawpaw Lee lived to be 70. That's an intermediate goal. I think I can make 80.
Kady and I went to Jay and KS's house to store all of our Christmas things. There's no room in this house, so they let us store things there. They certainly have the room. Big House. We watched a little football while KS finished up dinner. She made Turkish, a nice spinach and feta borek, chicken kebabs, a yogurt sauce, a Turk salad, and , for dessert, baklava. She did a fantastic job.
After dinner they gave me a birthday gift, a 50th Anniversary retro version of Risk. We played a game and I put myself out pretty early in the game. I was pretty reckless. I usually don't lose at Risk. That used to be a given. I had fun teaching KS.
We didn't finish the game, KS had a business trip the next day and it was way past time for Em to go to bed, so we took photos of the board and cards so they could continue another day. It looks like Jay will win, he controls most of the board, but, you never know. If Kady and KS can hold on and get lucky with their cards, they could take the back.
Friday, 10 January, 2020: Snow!
Tuesday morning, we had a little snow, about an inch. By afternoon, it was melting. It was my kind of snow. I didn't even bother to get out the snow shovel, happy and content to let our homeowners association take care of it. I was actually excited about it now that I have nothing to do with snow. I thought I'd go out and take some photos.
Nope. I stayed in my pajamas all day. That's smart, probably. I have pulled my back and I'm trying to let it heal. I'll take photos next snowfall.
KS and I went to see 1917 today. First, we had lunch with Kady and Jay at El Rodeo (Jaripeo), then drove down to Stonefield Cinema.
1917 was intense. Great music, camera work, acting...but it was another movie following Homer's Odyssey, a tale of a man trying to get from one place to another, overcoming pitfalls along the way, Cyclops (the Sniper), Calypso (The Girl and Baby), Sirens (the Singing Soldier), Perils at Sea (The River). The plot was military nonsense. Why didn't they just send a car or plane?
Whatever, I loved it and recommend it. It was good to see Tomin and Rob again. It was also good to spend time with my daughter-in-law. Living close is my first real chance to get to know her. She is very cool.
Friday, 3 January, 2020: Back Home
Kim and I drove home yesterday. Leaving Ashville was uneventful and we were home by mid-afternoon.
It is rainy here and we've spent the last two days in our PJs, dressing only for lunch at Charlottesville Matchbox Pizza with Jay and KS.
Sunday, 5 January, 2020: Home Paleontology
One of my Christmas gifts from Kady was a set of Lego Ideas dinosaur bones. I saw it on TV and she noted my interest. I was surprised. What really surprised me was how much fun I've had putting them together. They aren't that difficult, any ten year old kid could do them, but you have to take it step by step, follow the instructions, and Pay Attention!
My three dinosaurs, a T-Rex, a Triceratops, and a Pteranodon, were a great mind exercise. I never want to read the instructions, I like doing things in my own logical process, and my mind wanders from one thing to the next. I need more.
I've told Kady that when I start losing it she should buy me Lego!
I know that, now that I have them together, I should take them apart, bag them, and give them to Jk. I think I'll set them up in my office and enjoy them for a while. Last night, Kady and I went to the kid's house for playoff games, a steak dinner, and some Azul. Fun Game. I won.
KS and I are going to see 1917 Friday afternoon.
Wednesday, 1 January, 2020: New Year's Day in Asheville
Happy New Year!
I heard A get up with Cooper, so I slept in, knowing poor Mel was sleeping on the couch. I got up about nine and took him out again.E was supposed to make brunch, but that didn't happen, nor did lunch. Starting to scrounge, I found some of Chef Michael's leftover mashed potatoes and ate about half.
Then the Auburn game happened. Things were going so well. A good drive, 3 points. We intercepted, seven points. Then things went to shit. I think the team didn't care. Some of them may have, but it was like, "we beat Bama; we don't have anything to prove." You could see some of the seniors over on the sidelines trying to motivate their teammates, but the rest of the team, to me, seemed . . . uh . . . "dull."
I can't blame a lot of them, I guess. What's the point after the regular season? I began to understand when Hastings didn't really try for a bad pass. I can't blame him; I wouldn't want to get hurt again for a game that meant nothing.
Meanwhile, Minnesota came to play. They had everything to prove. This was a typical Auburn bowl game performance under Gus.
Gus is not my guy.