Wednesday, 29 December 2021: ACAC / WTF!?

On our schedule today was a tour of ACAC Fitness and Shots.

ACAC is amazing and Kady and I joined right up. Damn, this place has everything: a sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, pools, courts, weights, machines, a track, and loads of classes. The cafe looks nice too. They have Thai Chi.

After our tour, we went to get Flu Shots and the J&J Booster. I got the big Flu Shot for over-65 people. By the time I started across the parking lot, I could hardly walk; my legs would barely move. When I sat down in the passenger seat, My pelvic region was in such pain that I couldn't tell Kim what was wrong. All I could say was, "ow." After about what seemed to be fifteen minutes, it could have been much less, the pain began to subside, enough that I could fend off Kady's asking if I needed to go to the hospital.

Researching, hip pain seems to be a temporary issue with the big shot. I won't be getting that ever again.

Monday, 27 December 2021: Uncle Tommy

I found out, today, that my dad's youngest brother, Uncle Tommy, is close to the end. Hospice has been called in and he has gone blind. I expect I will be headed to Alabama soon. His passing will be the end of an era.

I also found out that a young friend is going through an ugly divorce. I feel for her and will do what I can to support her.

Sunday, 26 December 2021: Home is Where the Shower Is

There's No Place Like Home For the Holidays.

Kady and I couldn't sleep this morning, so we were on the road headed home early. We got to Charlottesville about 1030, driving through light traffic My first task was a Shower; that's the one thing I miss most about not being in my own house. The shower at E's place is weak, with little water pressure, and runs hot and cold. Mine is like being in a waterfall. I stayed in there a good long while.

Next, I unpacked my bag, washed and dried my dirty clothes, and then put everything away.

After lunch, I watched episode three of 1883. I love that show.

Saturday, 25 December 2021: Merry Christmas from NASA

We didn't go see the boats last night, which was a downer, but the girls whipped up a nice pasta dish for supper. Good food makes everything better. Afterward, we settled in for some cards. This morning, Al, A, SGM, and I watched the James Webb Space Telescope Launch. I had A take photos of me watching the liftoff with her. I returned the favor with him holding SGM. One day, maybe she can say, "I watched the launch with my grandfather and Dad.

I remember watching the Moon Landing with my father. Though I was in England and he was in Alabama for Hubble we discussed it for weeks, before and after. I think I called him that day.

It is a good thing I had a big supper last night; these people never have a plan for Breakfast and what they call Brunch is served in the afternoon. BULL SHIT! From now on, I'm going shopping the minute I get here for what I want for breakfast. Maybe I could store some survival meals in the garage.

After a lunchtime meal of scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit, and biscuits, we played Sushi Go, the most screwed-up game in the world. Everyone had an opinion

Tonight we'll do Secret Santa, then Kady and I will head home tomorrow.

Thursday, 23 December 2021: Getting Down on Baby Level

Today was "Photo the Granddaughter Day" or I thought it was. Kady and E had to be, almost, forced to help me. Yeah, I made mistakes but got them figured out and took a lot of fun photos of my girl.

I took some Christmas shots of her in front of the tree; those turned out well. The best photos of her came when I got down on the floor with her. She was very interested in my camera, which made for some pretty animated faces.

A went to DC to get his parents. They all got in about 1500. The house is full again.

Cooper and I have been for two short walks today and I tried running on the kid's Nordetrack treadmill. BORING. I may try to run again tomorrow OUTSIDE. It's supposed to be warmer.

Welcome to Harmony Grove

Wednesday, 22 December 2021: Harmony Grove

I took Copper to a small Rail Whistle-stop that Kady and I see from the highway every time we drive here on Highway 15. It isn't much, just a small stop for the old community of Harmont Grove, a place that no longer exists.

It was a good walk. The temperature was about 43 and the wind was blowing about 10 mph, which made it feel much colder. I dressed for it and put Cooper's new Carhartt jacket on him.

There is an old farmhouse in the area, Spring Bank Farm, but I didn't go far enough down the tracks.

On our way, we passed a COVID testing station; the double line of cars stretched around the block. Either a lot of people have or think they have COVID, or there are a lot of people traveling who need the test. Cooper and I gave them a wide berth.

It's Crazy out there!

Mustang Observatory

Tuesday, 21 December 2021: Maryland for Christmas

Kady and I drove up to Frederick this morning to be with E, A, SGM, and Cooper for Christmas. We'll be here until the 26th. We chose the fastest way, up 29 and 15, which takes us straight in. It's faster, true, but really boring. We prefer the backroads through Madison, Sperryville, and Front Royal. I hope we go back that way.

For the last two nights, I have been hunting for Comet Leonard. It's supposed to be under Venus and Saturn in the South West sky, just after sundown. I've had zero luck. I think the issue is that my view of the horizon is obstructed and that it is too low for me to see when it is dark enough for it to appear. Both nights, the clouds have come in to make my viewing even worse.

I thought that maybe I'd have some luck in Frederick, but it is completely overcast here.

Tomorrow, I hope to take Cooper on another battlefield tour. South Mountain looks like a good prospect.

Sunday, 19 December 2021: 1883

I watched the first two 1883 episodes this morning. They were so good. I love the suprise cast members, like Billy Bob Thornton playing the Ft. Worth Sheriff and Tom Hanks playing George Mead at Antietam. Sam Elliot is great as Sam Elliott, and his sidekick, LaMonica Garrett, won me over from the start; he's a hero. Tim McGraw and faith Hill are giving solid performances like everyone else innthe cast. Isabel May is fantastic.

Give Me More!

My run, yesterday, was arduous. The hills were long and steep and I won't be going that way again for a long while. Tuesday I have to run two miles again, but get a quarter mile break in between. I think they're to tell me to pick up the pace.

Today is a sleepy, rainy day. I think I'll nap.

THe Pie Chest

A Charlottesville Must

Thursday, 16 December 2021: Charlottesville Walkabout

Today, Itook a short tour of the C'ville food scene while I waited on new tires for Kim's Car/ I drove to NTB on Long Street, turned over the keys and prepared for a two hour wait.

There is a food truck spot across the street with Taco Gomez. I have had heard that it has the best tacos in town, so I walked over to try it. I'm not sure if they are the best in town, but they were the best I've had in Charlottesville so far.

There was no place to sit, so I walked as I ate, taking in the sights and old houses along the way. Wondering what else was close, I checked Google Maps and found out I was about 1.7 miles from The Pie Chest, one of my fave spots on the Charlottesville mall. I still had an hour and a half, so I walked for pie and coffee.

There were only four pies left after the lunch rush, but one sounded great; Lemon Gingersnap. I got a slice of that and a large house coffee, and then went to the mall to people-watch as I ate.

Charlottesville mall is a good place for people-watching.

I got back before the car was ready. I had to wait another thirty minutes.

The new tires make the Fusion drive like a new car.

Wednesday, 15 December 2021: Neighbors over for Dinner

It was surprisingly fun. We invited our next-door neighbor and the folks from across the street for dinner last night. Kady fed us delicious chicken breasts, green beans, corn casserole, and a salad.

There were a lot of getting-to-know-you stories.

All went well until someone asked Claudia, the eldest guest, where she called home. She began a long and sad story of divorce and death that went on for far too long. When she seemed to reach an end, I asked her about her children and grandkids to change the subject. She listed them with no joy in her voice. I think she is just a sad old lady.

I hope I don't get like that.

The other three, Pat, Nan, and Lynn, kept everything light and fun, sharing funny tales of places, family, and life. Kady and I shared some of our favorite moments.

I was glad when it was over. I'd do it again, but not for a while.

KS and I went for a short walk this afternoon, ending at El Jaripeo. Jonathon and Kady met us there for lunch; it was delicious. KS and I shared a bowl of their Chorizo Dip. I never want anything else!

Tuesday, 14 December 2021: Heaters and COVID

We got the word today that Ed and Kathy Lacey have Covid-19. It is hitting Ed harder than Kathy, so I worry. He's had some minor heart issues and he is of that age. I'll monitor him from here. Knowing him, I bet he didn't get the vaccine. Right Wing, Christian, living in Texas . . . the odds are in my favor. I didn't ask. I didn't want to make him tell me that he was stupid.

We had sensors put on our new heater and air conditioner yesterday. Of course, it skewed our system so we didn't have heat last night. Luckily, it didn't get too cold in the house, only about 65-degrees. Hell, that's great sleeping weather! They came back today to fix it. It turned out to be the way our Nest Thremostadt was wired. It's fixed, or so they say. It's working now.

Tonight we're having neighbors over for supper. High Adventure. Kim's cooking her heart out for them. I was thinking something like Stouffer's Lasagna.

I didn't run today. My legs were so tired and sore that I was having trouble climbing the stairs.

Sunday, 12 December 2021: A Funny Thing Happened on my Walk/Run

I ran Week 5:3 on C25K, without checking the workout. When I finished my warm-up, the App beeped and said, "Begin Running for 20 minutes. You're on Run 1 of 1. " Yikes! Twenty minutes is more than twice what I have run so far in one run. I didn't quit. I loved it.

Week 6:1 Looks like more interval training, but with one-mile legs. I'm ready to run miles, mentally. I'm going to have to calm down and stay with the program. I guess.

KS is back. I hope she's up for a walk tomorrow, but it's going to be 28-degrees at 7 am.

Friday, 10 December 2021: The Expanse

Holy Shit! The Expanse is back on for Season 6!


A bit small, but nice.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021: Back from Biltmore

Kady and I got back from Biltmore and Ashville last night around 6 pm. We had a great time. We left on Sunday, stayed at the Hotel Arras Kempton in Ashville, and went to see the Estate on our Anniversary, Monday. The house is a little gaudy for me but beautiful. I enjoyed the Gun Room, Billard's Room, and the Dining Hall. The art hanging in the place is amazing. The whole place was decorated for Christmas; almost every room had a Christmas Tree. Kady walked almost everywhere I did but she missed out on the Conservatory. It was the only place in bloom.

Biltmore should be seen in the Spring when the gardens are in bloom, and you can wear shorts and running shoes. We did a lot of walking there.

We took Highway 70 to Rogersville to visit Sandy on the way home. It would have felt wrong not to.

The drive back on Interstate-81 was the same, too many trucks.

Coming back into town, we stopped at Jimmy John's for supper and took Em and Jay a sandwich. It was nice to be in my bed last night.

Thursday, 2 December 2021: Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

Date Nite! Kady and I went to the Boar's Head Resort Winter Wander Trail of Lights tonight. It was a lot of fun. We stopped for Popito's Pizza as soon as we got to the trail. Smart. the line formed quickly behind us.

The trail was only a 1/2 mile long, but it was nicely lit with lots of lights in the trees. Her photos are way better than mine. @kade19578

I'm saying that this is the first day of our Anniversary Weekend. Kady will argue. Tomorrow, we'll have dinner with the Kids, then we leave for Ashville, Sunday.

I waited until 1300 to go for my walk/run so I could wear shorts and a t-shirt. It was almost 65 outside. Nice. It made all the difference.

Kady and I ordered my Pixel-6 today. I should have it in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021: KS Walk

KS and I walked today. It was cold, but a good workout. We went about 4 miles. She makes the miles and time go by quickly.

Tuesday: 30 November 2021: Back at Home

Kady and I left Fredrick at 0900, taking the fastest way home. That's 15/29. She complained about the traffic all the way and I was driving. I know, without a doubt, that that is the last time we go that way unless we're on a schedule.

Being back at home is great. The first thing I did, after unpacking the car, was to charge my Fitbit Surge. I'm going to count calories with Fitbot because it helps me focus. My C25K program is ramping up this week, so I need to watch what I eat. I'm re-reading Jim Fixx's Complete Book of Running for motivation. That's working. I believe there is no better book than this to motivate someone who wants to get fit, lose weight, and run with their daughter at 68.

After my run/walk today, Kady and I went back to Taste Shack. I had the Chicken Salad Sandwich; it was outstanding!

KS and I have a plan for walking this week as well as one for movie watching. We're going to watch Sing at her house Wednesday and then see Sing II at the theater.

Thursday, we're all going to see the Winter Wanderer light display at Boar's Head Resort.

The holidays at home are looking better. Instead of being in Fredrick from the 17th until after the 1st, we're spending only 24-26 December there. SS will come here up for New Year's.

All other efforts this week will be focused on our 40th Anniversary trip to Ashville, North Carolina. We leave this coming Sunday. I'm super excited.

Sunday, 28 November 2021: Cooper Washing

My day has been quiet. I worked on my site a bit, did Day 3:3 of my C25K, and washed Cooper.

My site needed a few more Bess Girls. I'm such a guy. I also moved my quotes to the top of each page (they seem to work better there), and there were many mismatched fonts from page to page.

Day 3:3 of C25K called for a five-minute warm-up walk, 2 x ninety-second runs, 2 x three-minute runs, and a five-minute cool-down walk.

Cooper hates his bathtime, but I have a blast. I prep the tub, cover the floor with towels, get out the shampoo, and then haul him upstairs by his harness. Once locked in the bathroom, he gives up and climbs in the tub. When I let him out of the tub, he shakes, spraying everything in the room with water. Then, he wrestles me as I try to dry him with towels and a hairdryer. After he's dry and I release him, he dashes downstairs to show everyone how handsome he is.

Then we watched Green, Bay.

Tomorrow, we're headed home. I'm ready. There are too many people in this house. Kady mentioned Harper's Ferry again. I don't think we're stopping.

Saturday, 27 November 2021: Iron Bowl

This morning was a slow start. I began pounding water as soon as I got downstairs. About 1000, I risked a little cereal. At noon, before Football, I had a PB&J.

The Iron Bowl was a great time. Win or lose, it's always fun. AU played their hearts out but came up short in the 4th overtime, 24-22. So Close. Everyone on TV thought it would be a blow-out, but Auburn came to play and played outside themselves. There remain a number of What Ifs, but I'm satisfied with the showing for one reason -- Brian Harsin can coach. I still think he needs to DX Mike Bobo. If we can just keep this young team from transferring and if the rumors of Harsin going to Washington are untrue, next year should be a lot better.

Yeah, I said it. Wait Till Next Year.

War damn Eagle! Dye Hard, All In!

Friday, 26 November 2020: Death by Cheese Ball

I was Stupid.

As we played a hand of Wizards, I got a hankering for cheese and crackers. E had made a cheese ball with cream cheese and sharp cheddar for Thanksgiving, but I only had a small bite. I grabbed it out of the refrigerator. I remember thinking, Don't Eat Too Much, knowing the way dairy products affect my stomach.

Al and I dug in.

As the Ritz Crackers began to run out, I increased the amount of cheese on the cracker. By the time the hand was done, half the thing was gone.

My night was long and painful. It was like I had food poisoning.

Worst Fam Photo Ever

Even Cooper had Enough

Thursday, 24 November 2021: Family Foto Fiasco

I had one job!

Thanksgiving day was great. Everyone was here, our food was marvelous and plentiful, and I played with Em and SGM. I took some time to set up the camera and flash for what E called an old school family photo, "like we used to take at Grandaddy's (Bill's) House." I metered, set the flash, linked the camera to my phone for remote shutter release, and tested it. I got texts from Leah and a few of my friends.


After dinner, everyone gathered on the couch while I turned on the camera, flash, and phone. NOTHING WORKED.

The more I tried, the more frustrated I got. The more I fidgeted, the rowdier the crowd got. Everyone had an opinion. Kelly came over and started making adjustments to my camera. Even Em came over to look through the viewfinder.

When I finally got it working, had everyone back on the couch (except SGM, who had gone to bed), and took a shot, the flash didn't fire. Then, the camera shut down.

The one photo looked great, but E's eyes were closed. Cooper had turned his back to the camera.

It would have been funny had I not been so embarrassed.

I went to bed early.

*My camera wifi was shutting down when I paused and my phone was defaulting to the house wifi. It took me about five minutes to figure out when no one was making wisecracks.

Wednesday, 23 November 2021: Hip Fexors

My hip flexors were killing me on my walk with Cooper. I slowed my pace as much as Coop would allow. That seemed to help. I'm going to take tomorrow off.

As soon as SS arrived from Tennessee, we all went to Plaza Mexico for Dunch. Their Burrito Californa is amazing.

Jay, KS, and Em come in tomorrow.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021: Old Friends

Blythe and Jason came over last night; it was a hoot. Blythe was in VWIL when I was the SGM for Army ROTC at VMI and quickly became one of my favorites. Jason was a VMI cadet while I was there, but not in the Army Department. I didn't get to know him until after they started dating.

They both became close friends of the family.

We hadn't seen them in the years after VMI, so getting together last night seemed a must after Kady found out that their new house is only 20 minutes away.

Today we were supposed to go on a Family Hike but opted to decorate for the holidays instead. Andy did the outside and the porch, I put the lights on the tree, and now the girls are putting on the ornaments. Andy's dad Al goes around "fixing" things. Like my lights. I had them looking good. While I was out of the room he put them all in straight lines with no depth inside the limbs. Elise made me re-do them. When he began "fixing" them again, E shut him down, nicely.

Now, I'm in my PJs hoping that my requirements are finished.

Sunday, 21 November 2021: A Funny Thing Happened

My morning run routine called for six 90-second runs. For my music, I chose Radiohead. After my 5th Run, I was supposed to walk two minutes. The song I was listening to had a chime that was the same pitch as the chime that starts my runs. On the first song chime, like Pavlov's Dog, I began running. I realized my mistake eight beats later when the chime sounded again. Taking up the challenge, I kept running. After a few more music chimes, I began hoping for the ending chime from the App.

Then, the chime sounded; the App's voice said, "Begin Running."

Barb and All came in last night after the abysmal Auburn showing in the South Carolina game. They flew in from Arizona for Thanksgiving.

Whoever called the second quarter, fourth-and-one play, in our territory, should be fired! That incomplete pass set up USC's second and tying Touchdown. Harsin says we were taking a shot. Everyone in the Auburn Nation would probably agree that the situation called for something more conservative. If Harsin wanted to "take a shot," it called for giving the ball to Tank Bigsby and letting him work his magic. Our second-string QB had been overthrowing his receivers all night, their D-Line had been overpowering out O-Line all night, and Bigsby had been running South Carolina ragged. Whatever, it was a BOBO call, probably by Bobo.

The best course of action in the second quarter was Punt The Damn Ball!

Utah made the night a little better by beating Oregan. Oh, Wait! Utah Kicked that ASS!

E is making Brunch, which is looking more like Dunch. It's friggin 11:30; I'm STARVING! I assume we're not eating until Al and A get back from the grocery store. That could be hours. In response, I asked Kady to do a Walmart pickup order for tomorrow.

Saturday, 20 November 2021: Bath Time

Cooper doesn't forget. After our walk this morning, I filled up the tub, gathered up a load of towels, E's hairdryer, a big plastic cup, and the dog shampoo. Next, I tried to coax him upstairs to the bathroom with snacks. The boy wouldn't come closer than the top of the stairs, no matter what I was offering.

I had to get his harness and leash.

Once in the bathroom, I told him to get in the tub. He climbed right in and was the best boy while I washed him, except he refused t sit in the water. When I let him get out, he shook, splashing water all over me, the walls, and everything in the bathroom. I had covered the floor with towels, so there was no slipping and sliding like last time.

His hair loss makes blow-drying him is easy, but it is coming back fast. By January, I think he'll look like his old Golden Doodle self.

I think that we're going on an adventure tomorrow. I'll take my camera along.

Friday, 19 November 2021: Back in Maryland

Our drive up to Frederick this afternoon was a hoot.

We arrived to Great News, Cooper had his post-treatment appointment today; his blood work and ultrasound all came back negative for cancer. He was at the house when we got here and greeted us like his old self, obviously feeling a lot better. His fur is coming back in as well. He looks healthier. Once I had the car unpacked, I took him for a walk.

E asked me to bathe him tomorrow. That'll be fun.

When A got back with SGM, our focus shifted to the Baby. I think Cooper understands this and has never shown any jealousy.

After SGM went to bed, we watched the newest episode of Ghosts on Paramount. We all love the show and tonight was a great episode.

Thursday, 18 November 2021: A Full Day

I ran this morning, continuing my Couch to 5K program. I am ready to do more, and next week will let me know if I am. This week I ran 6 x 90-seconds, alternating with 6 x 2-minute walks in between. Monday, I'll begin a routine of a 90-second jog, a 90-second walk, and then a 3-minute run. I'll do that twice and looking forward to it,

For lunch, KS, Jay, Kady, and I tried the new sandwich shop up the street, Taste Shack. I got a good vibe as soon as we walked in the door. I had the Steak and Cheese and Onion Rings. Both were spectacular. Kim had a Chicken Salad Club sandwich, Jay had a Chicken Sandwich, and KS had their Country Ham Rolls. I tried everything and found it all delicious.

Last night I went to Jay's place to watch Marvel's Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. I thought it was a little long, but it was a decent film. The CGI was top-notch, the story was a lot of fun, and the acting was superb.

Tomorrow, Kady and I head back to Frederick.

Friday, 12 November 2021: Second Run

I ran again this morning, this time on an empty stomach, and that made all the difference. Though I stayed with the program, I wanted to do more. I'll take Saturday off and run again Sunday.

Thursday, 11 November 2021: Veteran's Day and KS's Birthday

Jay went walking with KS and me this morning for her birthday. That was fun. The walk was short, about two miles because they were headed to NOVA to see her dad. I texted all of my veteran buddies to wish them a good day. I forgot Mitch Pigg; he called me. He's such a good army buddy!

Tuesday, 9 November 2121: Running? What the Hell!

I began a Couch to 5K training plan today. My goal is to run a 5K at the OBX with E in the Spring. That motivated me, plus, walking is NOT keeping me fit. it's not Walking's fault; I like to eat.

Walks with KS and Alone are going fine, but I eat all of the time. I need to stop that.

Kady and I just got back from Maryland. WE're up there all the time it seems, but that's OK, I have Coopper things to do ad Kady needs to see SGM. E and A need our help.

This past weekend, I put together the patio furniture and gave Cooper a bath. Of course, I walked him while I was there. Kady really helps out with the baby.

Cooper is finished with his treatments and his hair seems to be growing back. PLEASE! The poor boy is naked. SGM is 6-months-old and starting to eat real food. She had her first taste of Sweet potatoes on Sunday.

AU lost to TAMU. That sucked.

Monday, 25 October 2021: Limbo

We got the call about Thursday that SGM was ill with some kind of contagious respiratory disease and E needed us there Sunday night. I got up Sunday and packed for a week-long trip, but when Kady got up, she was too ill to go. She suggested I go and be a good grandfather, but I refused. E agreed, knowing I'd want to stay here and take care of Kady. I went to the pharmacy for some cough drops and Advil Cold and Flu, and have been running around town doing things and getting food.

She feels better but is worn out. I'm not sure when we're going.

Today, I began reading about Antietam and plan on going back once we're back up there. It's only about twenty miles from their house. It'll give me and Cooper something to do together.

They found Brian Laundrie's bones in the swamp north of his house last week.

We've been having thunderstorms all day.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021: Walking Alone

For the last two days, KS has been unable to join me on my walks. I've been listening with Southern Fried True Crime. Erica's latest episode 132: Old Louisville's Pink Triangle Murder is, by far, the most disturbing story she has ever told. The depravity of the people in the story is grotesque.

Kady is going to Tennessee, Again. I need to go somewhere. Where? I think the beach. She thinks not, but I think so. I may leave Friday or Sunday morning real early so I can watch and photograph the sunrise over the Atlantic.

Tomorrow, after midnight tonight, I want to watch the Orionid Meteor Shower. I think I'll take my chair out to the Pool Parking lot at about 2am.

Sunday, 17 October 2021: Gaver Farm

E, A, SGM, Kady, and I went to Gaver Farm this morning. Man! That place draws a crowd. When we arrived, there was a line of cars out on the highway, waiting to get in. They had a good parking plan and lots of parkers, so it went fast. There must have been 2000 people there. At $18 a ticket, that’s a pretty good day. I’m guessing they sell thousands of dollars in pumpkins, apples, apple cider, and apple cider donuts as well. The place is a little kid’s dream.

Back at the house, we watched football and made sandwiches.

Saturday, 16 October 2021: Kady Changes

Our plan was to take Skyline Drive from Hwy-33 to Front Royal. We were ok with the 4.5-hour drive that would mean. We had even picked out a place to eat up there with good reviews, and a great view.

Kady got up late so, we had to take a more direct route. She promised we could go home that way.

We got here, yesterday, in time to walk Cooper and to go get SGM from daycare

Today, it looks like rain, so our Family Autumn Farm Trip is postponed until tomorrow. Jay and KS drove up from her dad’s place in NOVA, for lunch and the Auburn at Arkansas game. I was dreading the game, but Auburn played tough and won. Bo Nix was amazing.

Wednesday, 10 October 2021: The Test

Last night I did a test. I took my first hit of THC from an e-cigarette. I was in a safe place and knew the people well. I just wanted to see what it did to my brain. Nothing.

I took a big drag, held it, and then let it out. Ok, I coughed it out. It really burned my throat. About thirty minutes later, I felt like I was getting a headache, but nothing else.

So, I'm done.

Tonight, Jay, KS, Bee, Jk, and I are going to see James Bond.

8 October 2021: Georgia Game

I had a great day with Cooper. The morning began about 0615 with SGM. I got up too, and took the boy for his pee, and fed him. His meals are a detailed regimen right now. He has three supplements that he takes that are supposed to help with his cancer and his nausea. I played with SGM for about an hour while the kids got ready for their trip. E, A, and SGM left about 0800 for DC to link up with his sister, CM, for lunch. Cooper and I played, had some snacks, and went for a walk while we waited on the Auburn-Georgia Game to start. He wanted me to scratch him all day long; I think he itches a lot with his hair falling out. I accommodated him. The kids got back just before kickoff.

The game was all Georgia and I saw the writing on the wall at halftime. I left and drove back to Charlottesville. Cooper looked distressed to see me go. Maybe he could sense my anxiety as I realized that Auburn is in for some tough years.

Are we the new Tennessee? Florida?

On arrival, starving, I made myself French Toast. I make great French Toast. I'm glad I'm back home to my food. The kids eat weird stuff.

Texas A&M beat Bama. Iowa beat Ohio State.

7 October 2021: Driving

It took me three damn hours to get to Frederick today. Not Good! There was so much traffic. Google maps took me through some serious horse country.

When I arrived, it was just E and me; we had a good talk.

About 1625, we drove to get SGM from day-care and A arrived with Cooper a few minutes after we returned home. He had another treatment today which means he'll be a little tired tomorrow. I'll have to be aware of that on our walk. I'm certain he'll let me know how far he wants to go.

The boy is bare. His hair is falling out in handfuls, but the doctor says he is a miracle puppy. His blood work is coming back normal and his last scans showed no cancer. His last chemo treatment will be in three weeks and if he's good to go after that, he'll go on a low dose pill for a while. His hair should be back by Christmas or in January.

I sure hope so, the poor lad looks naked.

Tomorrow, E, A, and SGM are going to Washington DC to see his sister and have lunch. They should be back in time for me to head home. I may wait till Sunday so I can do a battlefield stop on the way home.

SGM is the easiest baby ever. Once home, E put her in her rocker to bounce herself, then in the floor to play with her mobile. A went for food. When he got back, they gave her a bath (she loves bath time), fed her a bottle, and put her to bed. She will probably sleep all night.

Friday, 8 October 2021: A Continuous State of Flux

Kady is redecorating the kitchen. Our place (read: her place) is in a perpetual state of change. Now, it is the kitchen's turn. She's moved things around, making cooking more efficient, She had repainted the pantry door from Hot Pink to Coral. My Coffee Bar is now the hall table and the hall table is the Coffee Bar She asked first. My coffee bean grinder has disappeared. It is somewhere. The big hot pink Kitchen Aid mixer will be going. The paper towels are in the wrong place, in my expert opinion.

This is going to take me some time. My suggestions go unheard.

I leave for Frederick about Noon for Cooper/SGM Time. Back Sunday.

Tuesday, 5 October 2120: Sad Satisfaction

The news today is filled with a lot of "I Told You So" articles. Catholic clergy in France have molested over 200,000 children over the last 70 years. A Facebook whistleblower is testifying before congress with documented proof that Facebook builds programs that priorities polarizing information because it makes more money. Brian Laundry is still on the lamb. Duh!

Saturday, Auburn beat LSU. I don't know what to think. I'm guessing LSU really stinks this year. Next, AU plays Florida. yay.

This afternoon, Jay, Jk, and I are going to the movies.

Friday, 1 October 2021: Ghost Church

Thursday, Kady and I drove to Mechanicsville to see Historic Polegreen Church or "Ghost Church." Burned to the ground in 1864, the locals have built a frame with windows and doors, all white, to represent the original building. I had seen is in a friend's Instagram photos, thought it pretty cool, and then forgotten about it. Kady saw it and planned the trip.

When we got there, someone was using it as a wedding venue. It was closed. We saw it from a distance. Oh Well.

We drove back home using the car compass, heading north for a while, and then west. It took us along beautiful back roads through the Virginia Countryside. We ended up in Zion Crossroads and took the opportunity to eat at Rhett's Bar and Grill. I was unimpressed.

Though the trip was a bust, I had the best time with Kady.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021: More Than One Thing

Kady, Jay, and I went to BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville today. It was really good. The pulled pork was perfectly cooked and lean. Their sweet sauce was delicious. I had the slaw and potato salad, both were yummy. Kim got hushpuppies and let me try one. Very Good!

After Lunch, Kady wanted to work on the curb appeal of front porch. She potted the plants, I painted the lanterns, hosed the whole area down, pulled some nails KS left in the facade, and sprayed for ants. Next I tried to clean her car windows, but used Rain-X. No. Outside Only! What a Mess!

Tuesday, 28 September 2021: Cookie's Birthday, Two Walks, and Hail

I just finished cleaning up Mandolin Rain, a story that includes a few thoughts on my little brother Don. Today is his birthday. He would be 64 today.

KS and I went for a good long walk this morning and then I walked a little over a mile with Kady. That's 6.8 miles. I was tired.

Tonight, we had a huge thunderstorm with marble-sized hail. I am scared to go outside and look at Bess and the Fusion.

Sunday, 26 September 2021: Win Some, Barely Win Some

Auburn Football! Damn, it is hard to be an Auburn football fan. I swear, the team intentionally looked like shit on Saturday. Maybe they hate the new coach or something. They were completely outplayed by Georgia Southern. It was embarrassing! They pulled it out in the last seconds of the ball game, but it took a bad call on an incomplete pass to do it.

But, even Auburn couldn't ruin my mood. While I was making breakfast yesterday morning, I got a text from Leah asking if I wanted to meet her for lunch. "Absolutely, YES!" I replied. I spent the rest of the day, talking it over with Kim, fretting about what I should wear, and washing my car so I would make a good impression.

This morning, I drove to Warrington for breakfast at Northside 29 Restaurant to link up with her. I had a good time, trying not to talk too much, but wanting to tell her so much. I asked her about her life, and she was ready to give me any details I wanted. She was very open, warm, and caring. She's way more balanced about the whole thing than I am. Or, was. I feel so much better now.

It's my turn next time. I've already told Kim I'm going to Atlanta before Christmas.

My western omelet was GREAT!

Wednesday, 22 September 2021: Rain

Cooper and I had a rainy walk this morning. I think he loved it, but he is so reserved these days. He looks a little pitiful, losing his hair, especially on his face. I’m hopeful that after his last treatment in November that most of it will grow back.

He’s still very handsome.

We watched Dr. Phil make money off of the Gabby Petito today. All he did was regurgitate the news reports, was behind about a day, and brought on some "experts" who did a lot of speculating. Shit! He even had Nancy Grace on video feed doing her normal bullshit. These fuckers don't know shit, so there was plenty of time for commercial breaks every two minutes.

I think Savannah will be going back to daycare tomorrow which lets us head home. I’ll ve back in a little over two weeks to watch Coop while the kids go to Ft. Bragg for Cassandra’s baby shower. I want to go tonight, but Kim won’t commit until Elise gets home.


Kim and I just got home. Elise agreed that traffic would be impossible tomorrow morning, so we left after burgers. The drive home was a blast. I'm glad to be home.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021: Savannah/Cooper Day

My morning began early, about 0230, with Savannah throwing a short wobbler. They had her back to sleep in no time and I did too. I heard Andy and her get up about 0545 and I got up as well. I put on walking clothes, readying myself for a walk after breakfast. Cooper came down with Elise about 0730, I took him for a pee walk, and then Elise showed me his breakfast routine. It’s pretty detailed.

When Kim got up, I went for breakfast at McDonald’s. About 0900, I took Cooper for a walk. It was really nice outside.

Monday, 20 September 2021: Back North

Kady and I drove back to Frederick today to help the kids with Savannah and Cooper. Savannah has a little head cold so she can’t go to daycare. Coop is feeling poorly since his 4th round of Chemotherapy on Friday. Andy is heavy into his school and needs time to study, while Elise is working full time. We’re more than available and willing to help.

The trip went fine; we have the best time traveling together. Kim is the worst Backseat Driver but I love it.

This morning, the police in Florida declared the Laundrie home a crime scene, executed a search warrant, and removed his parents from the hose while they searched. They have stopped searching the park, but have towed his Mustang to search it. The autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.

Kim and I have never thought he was in the park and figure the parents were helping his getaway. Personally, I hope the alligators get him, wherever he is, not because I know he killed her, I don’t, but because he’s a little shit and a coward.

Savannah is so pitiful. Cooper is losing his hair and looks kinda scraggly.

Elise is stuck at work. The Army just decided on their COVID vaccination policy, saying everyone had to be vaccinated by tomorrow. Elise just discovered that her new unit does not know who is and who isn’t vaccinated. She has to justify the unit, TONIGHT, so all hose without shots can be vaccinated tomorrow. It’s just like the Army to pull this shit at the last minute.

Sunday 18 September 2021: Auburn loses to Penn State

Auburn lost last night. They played their asses off, but the noise and Penn State got to them. Had we caught two dropped passes and had the youngster not dropped the ball in our own territory, we would have won. Ah, well, What If's never help. Alabama survived Florida.

They found the little girl's body today. The guy is still missing.

Kim let slip today that the kids are having a "Sibling Weekend" this weekend that includes Leah. I'm OK with it, but I'm not OK with them hiding it from me, if that is what happened. I don't know that for sure.

I do know that the revelation has drummed up something in me that makes me want to separate from all of them, Kim included, so I've stayed in my room most of the day.

I'm going to see Cooper tomorrow.

Friday, 17 September 2021: Gabby

I am obsessed with this missing girl story all over the news. Gabby Petito is missing. She and her boyfriend were on a month-long trip out West when contact with her family stopped. Her mom talked to her on the phone for the last time on 25 August and Gabby said she was in the Tetons. He turned up in Florida on 1 September at his parent's house, driving her van, without Gabby, and refused to talk to police.

The boyfriend is missing, hiding out in a Florida swamp.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021: Bored and HOT!

Shit! KS isn't back until next Tuesday and my walks are sucking. I need a good Podcast. I'm bored with murders, most of the science shows are weak (Did you know the earth rotates around the Sun?), and Radio Lab hasn't put out anything new in a while. I'm even tired of Levar's damn voice.

I tried, or almost tried the Joe Rogan Experience this morning, but it started out with a couple of black, female, hip-hop idiots and I turned it off about 20-seconds in. I'm going to try NASA tomorrow.

Still, it's HOT out there. I left the house at 0700 this morning and by the time I got to the school, it was burning up out there. I could hardly breathe and my legs felt like lead. And, I left without having my coffee or breakfast. Not wise.

Jay made tentative plans with me for dinner one night this week and said he'd get back to me. Crickets! Not an Issue; the boy is busy with work and running the house and kids while KS is gone.

Thank goodness Kady is coming back tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021: A Long Weekend

I really don't like it much when Kady is gone. Though I ge to do all my things, my way, it is still not as much fun as en she is around. To make the weekend worse, it has been Hot out there. Here we are in mid-September and it is still in the 90s. The mornings have cooled off a bit, making my walks more enjoyable, but by the time I'm finished, it's too hot to go out.

Sunday, with no planned walk and cooler temperatures until about 1000, I took Bess for a drive to Barboursville and the ruins there. The drive was easy and slow until a pickup truck started riding my tail. I slowed on a straight, but the guy didn't bass. I sped up, taking the curves at speed and he fell well behind, unable to keep up. Back at 55, he stayed well back. I rode with my windows down and Poco on the radio. It was glorious.

Barboursville Ruins were really cool and I took some good photos.

Sunday and Monday, after my walks, were spent indoors. I watched two series on AppleTV+, The Morning Show and Mosquito Coast. Both are really good, and along with Ted Lasso, this service is becoming my preferred watching place. Today I'm watch Greyhound.

Since the middle of last month, I have been trying to keep a photoblog going. It was a decent enough idea, and some of my old readers picked up on it right away. Their comments were encouraging. I took it down yesterday. I need to treat the idea of an online presence like Facebook and Instagram, and Stop! I have done a good job of cutting myself off from the world outside and it makes me a happier man. The need I feel for an online website is, as I see it, a habit of thinking I still matter outside of my family. It is clear from the lack of contact I have from most people that I don't and, that also makes me happy.

Thursday, 9 September 2021: Opposite Directions

Today, KS and I drove to NOVA to pick up a love seat from her dad's house. Kady headed the other direction to spend time on The Farm. I got up early enough to shower, have breakfast, and to fill up her car for her trip.

KS picked me up around 1000 and we drove up to Reston. Matt and Monise had lunch ready when we got there, about 1215. Lunch was from Santini's New York Style Deli. KS and I had the Italian Sausage Sub. Pretty good, but needed more peppers and onion and a LOT more sauce. We had the love seat in the car and were back on the road by 1300 and home by 1500.

So, now I'm home, alone, and already lonely.

Nap Time.

Yesterday was Jay's birthday, so, for supper, we all went to Firefly, a hippy place, overly "woke," with hippy food, and hippy patrons. I felt like I was back in Sedona, the Hippyest-Dippyest place I've ever been.

The draw for Jay was their old-school arcade games lining the wall. The food was weird, though I found a sandwich I liked. My sweet potatoes fries were mushy. Kady's Tots were good. Though we were the only people in the place without food, it took them almost an hour to bring our stuff from the kitchen. The waitress may or may not have been cute. Who knows these days with Covid masks covering half the face. She could have had no teeth.

I found that I still suck at Dig Dug.

Scale of 1 to 10? 2.5. The place does have a good story.

Sunday, 5 September 2021: Caution: Busy Weekend Ahead

The kids came in from Maryland Saturday about Noon, bringing all of the accoutrements required for a baby and a puppy. SGM was an angel, but seemed to not like me at all . . . or they gave her to me when she was super tired.

Cooper looks so poorly but acts like a puppy. His fur is falling out by the bushel and hie face looks so much thinner, but he us always up for a game. While out in the backyard, he and A were playing and his ball went over the 4-foot retaining wall. In a bound, he was mostly over it and pulled himself over the top, unusual for him. On our walk this morning, I took him to the baseball park and let him run the outfield. Like usual, he found a baseball. He chased it twice, short runs, but quit after that. He took the walk home slowly. He slept most of the time he was here. I think Chemo is kicking his ass, but he is just a brave boy.

Before they arrived, I drove Bess to James Monroe's Highland for a historic tree walk. I net some nice people, walked the grounds with a knowledgeable guide, and took a lot of good photos. I was proud of myself. It was good to go for a drive in Bess as well.

Yesterday was College Football. Alabama beat Miami, Georgia beat Clemson, and Auburn beat up on poor little Akron. We didn't need to do that to them. The Zips fought all the way to the end, showed a lot of class, and never gave up, Meanwhile, the AU players acted like they were beating Alabama. Bad Form and Unsportsmanlike! Let's see if they are laughing that hard when they play Penn State in two weeks.

Jay, KS, Em, and Ann came over for dinner. We celebrated Jay's Birthday. E made, at my request, Martinis of all sorts. I had never had one and I probably won't ever again. They weren't bad, but I'd rather have rum, whiskey, bourbon, or tequila.

Jay was supposed to come over this morning with Bodo's bagels but backed out saying he wanted to watch the F-1 Race. Huh? I know he loves F-1 Racing, but when you say your getting breakfast and your Sis is in town from Maryland, you watch F-1 at my house or you miss a little F-1. I do not get him, sometimes.

Today, after the kids left, I photographed a big Fairy Ring of Mushrooms that I had seen on my walk. Cool.

Tuesday, 31 August 2021: Mex in Gordonsville

After my run thins morning, I cleaned up and read the news while I ate my breakfast. We're out of Afghanistan, New Orleans has no power, Lake Tahoe is burning, and Cam Newton was released by the Patriots.

Jay picked us up at 1130 and we went to Gordonsville for Mex at a highly recommended place, Los Tres Hermaditos. It is a little place, with four tables, counter, and one little Mexican lady taking the orders, making the food and taking payment. The food was delicious.

I had a guy email me to say he likes my new blog.

Sunday, 29 August 2021: Football?

Eager for some NCAA Football, Kady and I sat down and watched Illinois beat Nebraska. It wasn't great, but it was the beginning of the season and it was enjoyable, especially since Nebraska was trashed. I couldn't make myself watch anyone else. Next week is really Week One. Auburn plays Akron. Why am I worried?

Jay and Em came over last night for dinner. Kady made a pasta dish and salad. Yummy!

Last night we had a three-hour thunderstorm with a clap of thunder about every two to three seconds with a continuous rolling thunder that hardly ever stopped. I told Kady that Kansas was missing one of their thunderstorms. It cooled things off a lot.

This morning, I wasn't motivated to walk. That's OK. I usually take Saturday off, but walked yesterday. It was a scorcher out there and I decided to do the big hill on Ashwood Boulevard.. It's a gut check. I miss my walking partner and need a new podcast. I'm a bit bored with Southern Fried, Radio Lab hasn't put out much in a while, and Levar Burton seems sappy and overly ethnic to me now.

Friday, 27 August 2021: One-Thing-a-Day, Damnit!

Yesterday, I had to do two things.

First was the front door. It took Kim pushing me to figure out that the new outside handle, which, two years ago, I decided "didn't fit," was, in fact, ADJUSTABLE. Duh! I had than thing on in about an hours, including the trip to Lowe's to get a 3/8 inch drill bit.

Next, I put a new, shorter wire in a lamp she bought for the powder room. That was easy and it looks much beter than the long brown cord.

For my trouble, she made her Bruschetta and caramelized onion pizza, a John Favorite. Good Trade!

I watched a movie suggested by Erica Kelly on Southern Fried True Crime, "Spotlight." It is an amazing story about the sex abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church. It is a must-watch movie and a perfect example of how religion is not the bastion of morals.

We lost thirteen Marines in Afghanistan yesterday.

Monday, 23 August 2021: Fishing

Yesterday, I bought a Virginia State Fishing License. I'm going to start fishing!

Well, that's the plan and I figured that a $15 investment in a license and the flyrod E gave me a couple of birthdays ago would be a good start, even if it turns out to be an experiment that doesn't take.

I went out this morning and tried casting with the rod. I didn't have a leader attached to the line, but tied a couple of knots on the end to simulate the weight. It worked pretty well and I feel like I can cast well enough to have a go when the license gets here. I'll start on the lake out back and then branch out to the bigger lakes in the neighborhood. This place ain't called Forest Lakes for nothing.

My goal is to catch and release, crimping or cutting the barbs so I don't injure the fish. Maybe I'll take photos so I can ID them later. Is there a rod and reel and a boat in my future? Who Knows?

Sunday, 22 August 2021: It’s Working

I was down to 228 lbs this morning. That's down seven pounds since Maryland and four pounds in a week. The keys to success for me are to watch what I eat, walk every day, and be faithful to fasting.

Saturday, 21 August 2021: Google Temptations

I found out that Google has a small website builder, Google Sites, better than Blogger. I thought I’d try it out and make a Photo Blog, a site just for my photography. I kinda liked it. It’s not overly complicated, but who wants that? After designing it, I deleted it. No More Websites online. It is like Instagram and Facebook--a hard habit to break.

Friday, 20 August 2021: No Run

It was raining again this morning, so no walk for KS and me today. She and Jay are going to NOVA for the weekend and then she’ll be in Florida, working, for the next two weeks. I’ll be back doing my own thing for that time.

I’ve dropped a little weight. I’m down to 230. By the end of this week, If I keep walking and eating smart, I should be under that, easily. I’m hoping for about 225.

Today, I discovered Chrome Sticks, a computer in a very small package, with a power supply, that you plug into a monitor or TV. They are Bluetooth capable for a mouse and keyboard, and they come with100 GB of free storage on Google Drive. They cost about $110. It’s an option.

Thursday, 19 August 2021: Future Computer

Amazon sent my USC-C adapter today, attaching it to my extra HDMI to HDMI Cable, plugging it into my computer and big monitor was simple enough. Setting my new Chromebook to mirrored screens and hooking up a wired keyboard was all it took to see and run my laptop like it was my primary computer.

I’m not sure how I’ll like it though.

I believe I’ll get a Chromebox when the time comes and operate as I do now, with a Laptop for traveling and a dedicated Main Computer on my desk, both Chrome OS.

I uploaded some of my photos on Amazon Photos, where I have unlimited storage. They will help me work in the Cloud and keep my Chromebook uncluttered

Kelly and I walked over five miles today. It was fun.

For lunch today, Kady made pizza. She read somewhere how people were putting Mike’s Hot Honey on their pizza, swearing that it was outstanding. Mike’s has been a favorite around here since our 2018 trip out West. We ate at a little steak restaurant in Page, Arizona after we toured Antelope Canyon. They had Mike’s Honey on the table, and I loved it, but I never thought it would go on pizza.

When it was time to eat, Kady had already put the honey on my whole pizza. I was afraid that I would not like it and that I would be out of luck, but it was delicious!

Get yourself some Mike's Hot Honey!

Wednesday, 18 August 2021: Rain

I got up at 0500, checked the weather and The Weather Channel, and then made the wise decision to go back to bed. I texted KS my intentions. She agreed, thankful, I assume, for the extra sleep time. I sure was. It began pouring about 0600 and rained all morning.

Good Call!

Kady made Burgers for lunch, Outstanding Burgers. My girl can COOK!

I just deleted my Photo Blog and my Blogger Site. I'm going to keep my Journal going, because I enjoy it, but will have to figure out a way to keep it edited when I move to Chrome, entirely. I figure I have about three to five years to get there.

My next project is deleting all the photos off of my Google Archive. That's going to be a pain in the ass.

Later: Well, No, It Wasn't! Too easy if you're deleting everything.

I feel Relieved! Why do I feel so relieved that my site is down and that I'm off of Instagram and Facebook? Do I enjoy being The Invisible Man?

Next, I think I'll delete phone numbers.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021: Yawn

Today was a slow day. KS and I went for our walk and we did about five miles. It was cool, but humid, and we were both drenched in sweat at the end.

Back home, I napped on and off all day long.

The only thing I did that could be considered constructive was removing our wayward Nest Cam from the front porch. No matter what else. I tried, I couldn't get it working. Taking it down was a good thing; the Sun had completely rotted the insulation on the power cord. Back inside, I got it working, but I'll need to repair it before I put it back out.

It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow. Thanks, Fred.

Monday, 16 August 2021: 82nd Airborne Day

I got up this morning at 0430 to go walking with KS, something we hope to do every day this week until she goes to Florida for two weeks. It was supposed to be raining but wasn't, so I drove over to their house, getting there about 0525. She was ready.

It was very dark out. The cloud cover was so thick that morning nautical twilight was not getting through. There were times I couldn't see my feet, much less the path. We hugged the edge of the roads at times.

She is a great walking partner, ready to go as far as I want to go while carrying on a spirited conversation. We think alike and I believe she is a bit more conservative than Jay. We agree on most things. I've really gotten to know her on our walks.

Back home, I made coffee in my coffee pot, scrambled up some eggs, and microwaved some Bacon. This is where I should give a shout-out to Boar's Head Thich Cut Fully Cooked Bacon. It is, by far, the best. We get it at Harris-Teeter.

My Breakfast was Delicious.

When Kady got up, She made breakfast again. OK, I can do that. She made biscuits, sausage, and hash browns. I love when she makes breakfast.

Breakfast #2 was Delicious. It's no wonder I can't beat 230lbs.

Jay and I went to see The Green Knight this afternoon. This is a must-see movie. It is a nice work of storytelling and cinematography. Every scene is a visual masterpiece. It is thought-provoking, puzzling, and leaves you wanting more. It challenges you to figure out all of the symbolism. I will give it a few weeks and then watch it again, headphones on, to get all of the dialogue, a lot of which I missed in the theater. There is no way I'll let others tell me what it meant, so I'm not reading anything; I'll decide for myself what it means to me.

It's that kind of movie.

Go See It!

Today is National Airborne Day . To help celebrate the event, America is deploying the 82nd Airborne's Defense Ready Brigade to Kabul to assist in the evacuation of US, foreign, Afghani citizens. It looked to me, watching the BBC as if 1 Para got the call from the UK Ministry of Defense to conduct a Services Protected Evacuation (SPE) for their citizens. I hear through the Fayetteville Observer that we are also sending two battalions of Marines and more from the Army, from CENTCOM, to Kabul Airport.

We can only hope the Taliban lets us go about our business without making us kill a shit load of them.

Sunday, 15 August 2021: Afghanistan

"I remember quite clearly when I got out of bed, I said, oh, good morning what a beautiful day." ~ Sweet Baby James

Kabul fell today and the president fled to Uzbekistan. The Taliban look to be in complete control. I'm sorry for the good people of Afghanistan; they have some horrible days ahead and we westerners must steal ourselves from the atrocities to come. As information out of there ceases, we may never know all that happens.

There will be more fighting as the Taliban, al-Quaeda, and ISIS compete for Primacy. Before long it will become, again, a power-projection base for international terrorism.

I expect the Taliban to win and the Taliban is the Norm for that country.

What should we do now? Surround, isolate, and infiltrate them. Spend a small fraction of what we've spent there over the last twenty years building forward bases, drones, and all types of intelligence. Upgrade our B-52 fleet.

Next, we sit back and watch as they kill more terrorists, future terrorists, and parents of future terrorists than we ever could. Be ready to kick the shit out of them when they begin to export their shit.

Once we've bombed them to oblivion, leave, sit back, and watch the whole thing happen again.

I had a great walk today.

Saturday, 14 August 2021: Photography Manipulation on my Chromebook

My next goals for the new Chromebook were to set up my Blue Drive, on which I have my old website files, and decide how I'm going to work on photos before printing or posting them.

The Blue Drive is a Samsung Portable T5 SSD with 500GB. Setting it up was a nonissue. I plugged it in and Chrome gave me a prompt with a toggle for access. I toggled it on, opened the Google Files App,

and there it was. Too Easy! I chose from it, a photo of KS that I had underexposed as I was bracketing before we began one shoot. Then I worked on it with Snapseed, giving it a try.

I like it, but it isn't Photoshop. I'm sure I have some "learning" to do. I could, I guess buy rights to work on Photoshop in the Cloud, but that shit is expensive. We're going over to Jay's tonight for Burgers. I'll talk to him about it.

Friday, 13 August 2021: Chromebook

I tired of windows long ago but was locked into it and unwilling to deal with the pain of going to Apple or an open-sourced OS, Now their new OS, Windows 11 won't fit on my aging but perfectly good computers. Screw Them, I tried Linus Mint but it was such a hassle deleting or loading programs that I scrapped that idea. Linux is great but meant for real computer people who are willing to invest their time learning the codes.

Not long ago, I moved my website from my computer to Google's Blogger, where I design and input completely on their platform. Almost everything I do on my computer is on Google Chrome--e-mail, calendar, tasks, lists, messaging, news, family research, and browsing. My preferred photo tool is still Photoshop Elements.

With all of the Pixel 6 Talk going around and because of the loathing I have for Samsung, I have the idea that when I need to get a new phone, I'm getting a Pixel.

To go completely Google, I began looking at Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. I found an ACER Laptop for $170 on Amazon and ordered it. It came in today and I've been playing around with it.

The first thing I found, to my complete delight, was the ability to delete Apps. Yeah! I deleted all of them. So far, I'm crazy about this little computer. I basically do everything on Chrome so it is perfect for that. This is my first blog post from it.

The only program I'd like to carry over to this computer is Photoshop Elements. I'm going to wait on that and try Snapseed for a while.

I Facetimed with Savannah over Kim's iPhone tonight. She was fussy and my Kermit impersonation singing Rainbow Connection was her parents' last resort. It worked like a charm.

Yesterday, Jay, KS, Em, and Ann came by for Kim's Chicken Enchiladas. The food was great and I had some fun Em time with my guitar.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021: More Good News

We just got word that A's school will be virtual, leaving him at home to help E through this transitional period in their life.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021: Creeping Arrogance

How quickly cult thinking can creep back into my life. Two of my close friends have recently written me about their personal religious journeys, which I don't want to discourage; my beliefs are not for everyone, obviously. Looking for what to say and wording it just right to be true to my beliefs, I write and re-write several times before sending.

Today, I tried to respond to an e-mail referencing the Eucharist. I began by saying that the Eucharist was my favorite part and how it let you dwell on all of the things that JC did on the cross for us, all Thirty-six Things. I began to list them.

I caught myself. Why are you doing that Neely?

I know too well the answer.

Arrogance! I was trying to impress my friend with how much I knew about the Bible. That's how I was in my old religious days, the days in the Cult. No More!

Very Bad, Neely.

It is so nice to be back home. I went for a short walk today because it was 76 degrees at 0600 this morning. it's about 200 out there right now, or feels it.

Before lunch, I took all of my camping kit and a mouse/keyboard set to Goodwill. Next, I took my old computer, stripped of the hard drives and memory, to Best Buy for recycling, Goodwill was Goodwill, but the Bust Buy guys were great! They were really helpful and I suggest them if you ever have electronics to recycle.

It cleared up a lot of space in my room, but, of course, this means that I am not doing Le Voyage Solitaire as planned. I'm going, but I plan on renting a room or flat and do multiple, two-day, or three-day trips. I'm trying to interest Kady in going along and I KNOW she ain't going campin'.

While we were in Maryland, SGM began cooing regularly and rolling over back-to-front. Amazing. E sent a video yesterday of her, on her back batting, effectively, at the items on a mobile strung over her play-pad. Crazy. I told E to get her a tennis racket.

I'm so happy they are close. I'm so happy I don't have to go to Kansas anymore.

Sunday, 8 August 2021: Things Settle Down

Friday morning, E and I took Cooper to the Pet Oncologist in Leesburg Virginia. They ran tests and x-rayed his lungs. The doctor called us (we sat in the car) and told us that Cooper's Numbers were good and talked us through some treatment options.

E elected to give him chemo which will include five sessions, every three weeks, tests each time, and intravenous injection of the drug. They went ahead and gave him his first shot and proscribed some anti-nausea medicine, some Chinese herbs, and a mushroom extract.

The doctor, Tony Rusk DVM, who we loved, gave us a little hope for more time with our buddy, giving us one month, hoping for February, and maybe even" a celebration next August with him." That's how he put it and I thought it the perfect comment.

After the treatment, the doctor told us Cooper would probably be run down for at least a couple of days, but Cooper acted like he wasn't bothered one bit.

In the evening, E scoped out a day-care facility for SGM which she loved and had an open slot. It's a family-run and operated business that gave her a great vibe. Finding that was a huge thing off of E's plate.

Saturday, a little after lunch, A got back from Kansas, done with that place. Kim and I got on the road about 1500 and took the long and quiet way home. The drive was perfect.

If Cooper's health holds up, we probably won't go back up until Thanksgiving. They'll be here in early September and we're all meeting in DC in October, but it looks like we will get a breather. It seems like we've been on the road for three years. I guess we have.

This morning, I picked up groceries at Walmart and Harris-Teeter. Being home so infrequently has left the house devoid of food so this was a big one. Kim had me go by Bojangles for breakfast. Country Ham Biscuits! They're my thing. If your BoJays doesn't have them, I'm sorry.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021: Downtown

Coming back from the Battlefield yesterday I drove through old town Frederick. Very Cool. Next time I'm here, I want to go back, maybe in the early morning, and take some photos. There is also the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. I'd like to see that.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021: The Battle of Monocacy

This morning, Cooper and I went walking on a new trail that parallels Waterside Drive, It was nice out there and I turned on my Real Music playlist on Amazon. Damn, I've added some great tunes there. Cooper and I drove to the Monocacy Battlefield after lunch, straight down Monocacy Boulevard. Maryland has well-protected this battlefield. Most of the site is still farmland and the train tracks are still in the same place. The Visitor Center was closed, so, except for the field pieces on site, I was just looking at the terrain.

I had studied the battle, but still, it took some time to figure out what took place where. Once I was oriented, I took Cooper on a walk where half of Jubal Early's force, under, Rodes routed a small force guarding the rail bridge and flanked the Yankees on the right and then drove to where McCausland rode his cavalry brigade into an ambush and where Breckenridge broke the left flank of the Union force.

Before Early withdrew, he was in sight of the Capital.

Early's campaign down the Shenandoah Valley was of little lasting strategic value. By September, Sheridan was pushing his force back up the Shenandoah Valley (South), defeating him with superior numbers in battle after battle, finally ending Early's Valley Campaign at Waynesboro.

Monday, 2 August 2021: Therapeutic Bark Park

This morning I took Cooper on a walk around the neighborhood, but kept it short, a little over a mile. I dropped him off with his mom and continued walking. I did a little under four miles. In the afternoon, we took him to pet smart to buy him what I call happy food, not the dry healthy food he has grown up on but something with a little taste.

We have been thinking through all the things we need to do to make his last days more comfortable while watching for any signs of discomfort. Today, he was very clingy with his mom, wanting to be with her every minute. Reading about dogs who have had a splenectomy, they say this is a sign that they don't feel well. Truthfully, I can tell that he isn't well on our walks, which is why I'm keeping them short. Of course, when he sees a rabbit or squirrel, his puppy brain takes over and he acts like he's right as rain.

On our way back to the house we went to recon Manacacy Park Trail for a future walk and stumbled upon a small dog park. We stopped and let Coop off-leash for a while and his whole demeanor changed. He was Young Cooper again, trotting around, chasing sticks, and selling all the wild smells, Happy. I'm thinking this could be the best thing we could do for him just before the time comes.

Rue the day.

Sally and I have been e-mailing a lot lately. It is good to be back in close touch and not getting info through Kady. She is so funny and unperturbed with the changes in my spiritual life. We met Sal through the church (cult) and she remains a believer and shares things she reads and things her Messianic Rabbi teaches. I tell her what I'm thinking. We don't dwell on the difference. More often we reminisce about our times together and share good places to eat in Birmingham and Charlottesville.

Saturday, 31 July 2021: A Lovely Morning Walk

E and SGM went with Cooper and me on our walk this morning. It was a glorious morning, in the 60s, with a light breeze, and we walked about three miles around the neighborhood. This place is flatter than Kansas but so much nicer.

SGM loves going for walks. Once her stroller is moving, she goes to sleep. Sometimes, when she's really tired and irritable, it is the only way to calm her down.

Friday, 30 July 2021: Cooper's Health

I took Cooper on a 3-miler today and he didn't balk at it one bit. I am afraid it was a little ambitious and I do not plan to do it again, though he seems to be just fine. We'll do shorter walks from now on.

He remains his old self, interested in the wild smells, rabbits, and squirrels, and eager to go wherever we go. It is up to us to cue on his reactions, aware that he will be slowing down and becoming less comfortable in the near future.

We talked it out over lunch at Plaza Mexico. E has it all thought out and though saddened by the situation, isn't letting her emotions rule her actions. She'll do what is best for Cooper.

The girls drove to Luckett today to pick up a table, leaving me to supervise Coop. After our walk, he slept while I showered and finished Marie Antonette. by Sophia Coppola, one of the five movies that the director said influenced him to make the movie Green Knight. But first, it is Friday and the new episode of Ted Lasso has dropped.

Thursday, 29 July 2021: The Search for a Poem

For the last few days, I have been looking for the text of one of my favorite poems. I read it a very long while back in one of my dad's books, a poem called, as I remembered, "They Have Not Seen the Stars" by Ray Bradbury. I read that poem a lot while I was a kid. It spoke to me of the special relationship humans have with the Heavens.

Then I forgot about it.

A few years back, one of my Brother Rats, Libby, one of the sweetest and loveliest women on this planet, Surface Warfare Officer, Nurse, Missionary, married to another BR, Jimmy, posted a photo on social media of her new tattoo. It was two lines from the poem, "Vast circlings of sounding light -- so quickly seen then quickly lost."

I recognized it at once.

I went looking for it and found it online, copied it, and began to appreciate it anew. Now it spoke to my personal relationship with the sky. I'm not sure where that file is, but, when wanting to reference it as the title for one of my photos (see Cfn on Photos Page) I couldn't find it. I Googled everything I could think of.

I was about to give up when it hit me, Ask, Libby! I was a little apprehensive about doing that. "Hey Pretty Girl, I remember a tattoo you have from a photo you posted ten years ago. Could you send me the poem?" I know Libby well and didn't think she'd think it was too weird, so I contacted her on Instagram. She sent me the exact quote from her tattoo. I Googled that and the poem came straight up.

I screenshot it and asked Kady to type it out for me. Here it is in all its meaningful glory. Enjoy.

They Have Not Seen The Stars

By Ray Bradbury

They have not seen the stars,

Not one, not one

Of all the creatures on this world

In all the ages since the sands first touched the wind

Not one, not one,

No beast of all the beasts has stood

On meadowland or plain or hill

And known the thrill of looking at those fires;

Our soul admires what they, oh, they, have never known.

Five billion years have flown in turnings of the spheres

But not once in all those years

Has lion, dog, or bird that sweeps the air

Looked there, oh, look. Looked there, ah God, the stars;

Oh, look, look there!

It is as if all time had never been,

Or universe or sun or moon or simple morning light.

Their tragedy was mute and blind, and so remains.

Our sight?

Yes, ours? To know now what we are.

But think of it, then choose ---- now which?

Born to raw Earth, inhabiting a scene

And all of it, no sooner viewed, erased, gone blind

As if these miracles had never been.

Vast circlings of sounding light, of fire and frost,

And all so quickly seen then quickly lost?

Or us, in fragile flesh, with God's new eyes

That lift and comprehend and search the skies?

We watch the seasons drifting in the lunar tide

And know the years, remembering what's died.

Oh, yes, perhaps some birds some nights

Have felt Orion rise and turned their flights

and turned southward

Because star-charts were printed in their sweet

genetic dreams -----

Or so it seems.

But see? But really see and know?

And, knowing, want to touch those fires

To grow until the mighty brow of man Lamarckiar-tall

Knocks earthquakes, striking moon,

Then Mars, then Saturn's rings;

And, growing, hope to show

All other beasts just how

To fly with dreams instead of ancient wings.

So, think on this: we're first! The only ones

Whom God has honored with his rise of suns.

For us as gifts Aldebaran, Centauri, homestead Mars.

Wake up, God says. Look there. Go fetch.

The stars. Oh, Lord, much thanks. The stars!

Wednesday, 28 July 2021: Back in Maryland

Our drive seemed very long. Kim said, "It's like we've been on the road for six hours." In real-time, it was, spot-on, only three. I plotted a new route that I knew would be longer but also with less traffic. We took 29 to 33, across the Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, and then 340 North all the way to Frederick.

The scenery was amazing. Good Choice Neely! I want to take Skyline Drive going back home.

On arrival, I was ready for food and I knew what I wanted -- Vocelli's. E had another plan but that placed was closed. I got my way. I love me some Vocelli's, which is a franchise. We have one in C'ville which I plan on frequenting, depending on if I am ever there.

This morning, I went for my walk, after taking Cooper out. I took a trail that E showed me that went down to the Monocacy River. Very Nice. On the way back, I walked through the Mill Island neighborhood, which took me to an old railroad track, which brought me back to Monocacy Boulevard and the house. Cooper and I went for a mile stroll after that and he was his old self, sniffing all the things. That was good to see.

Friday, 23 July 2021: Ted Lasso

Holy Shit! The best show on TV, right now, is Ted Lasso on AppleTV+. I asked Jay about it and he agrees. And, like me, he is crazy about Hanna Waddingham who plays Rebecca. I thought it might just be me, the 68-year-old guy, finding the 47-year-old Ms. Waddington attractive, but if my Thirty-something son thinks she is beautiful too, then I must be onto something.

The show is great and fun to watch for even someone who detests Soccer. The Brit-American references are perfect and much what I came to expect when we were living there. From the first line about the difference, "You Have to Look Right First," the dialog rang so true. You have to have only been hit by one bus or car while trying to cross the street to learn that rule.

I finished the first season in two days in time to watch the first episode of season two, today. Now. I'm living from Friday to Friday.

Thursday, 22 July 2021: Trip Planning

Either late this fall or in early spring, I plan on taking a Camping Trip in Bess. I'm in the early planning stages but will check out my tent and camping gear today.

I'm calling it Le Voyage Solitaire during which I will travel the Outer Banks of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, staying at state parks along the way, and ending in Beaufort. I may continue on to Georgia and Florida. That will probably depend on family responsibilities and how badly I miss Kady. I certainly won't leave while Cooper is still alive.

When I go depends on Hurricane Season; I don't want my trip interrupted by really harsh weather. I need a week or two. I want the weather to be cool. I like the beach when it's cold. I want seafood, great seafood. I want Tequila and Whiskey. I want to smoke good cigars.

I'll be taking my Phone, Cameras, and Laptop to stay in touch and blog the trip as I go.

I'm looking for something, I just don't know what, I just know it was out there, on some beach, calling me.

It is a longing in my soul, a longing for the past times, the beach of my youth. It is a longing for the feelings I had that summer of 1970. It is a longing to drive on the strip, this time, in my car, windows down, my music on the radio, something I have never done.

I want Sand, Surf, and Solitude.

I am The Seeker.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021: Cooper's Diagnosis

We heard today that Cooper's tumor was malignant, a "Worst Cast Scenario." He has only a few months to live, maybe only one month. I'm not sure what E will do but we will be back up there Monday to help her sort through the decisions and so we can be with Cooper.


Sunday, 18 July 2021: Relaxing at Home

Kady and I drove home yesterday, clearing E & A's house got the arrival of his parents and his sister. We're glad to be home and really need the rest.

I checked on Cooper and E says he is like his old self today and that they are having to slow him down. This is good news. At eight years old, I didn't know if he'd recover well but he has lived a healthy and fit lifestyle.

Thursday 15 July 2021: None Too Soon

Yesterday, E's car let her know that the right front tire was low. I checked it and it had 30 PSI. This morning it only had 25 psi. I found the nail.

After a shower, I drove it to NTC for repair. I was the first person there. While they fixed it I walk to Dunkin Donuts for a breakfast bagel a blueberry donut and the new vanilla smoked latte iced coffee. Legit!

The rest of the day, I took care of Cooper. I slept with him last night to make sure he didn't lick his incision site. Watching him during the day was much the same. I took him outside about every two hours for a pee and tried to get him to poo. When went back into the house he drank loads of water but showed no interest in food.

By afternoon he was acting more like his old self, moving better, smelling all the smells, and marking his territory.

E left about 1600 to take SGM for a checkup and shots and then to pick up A at Dulles he came in two days earlier than planned to help E through all of this stuff. Thank goodness.

When they arrived, we ordered dinner from Vocelli's Pizza. My pizza was one of the best I have ever had. After dinner, SGM got really cranky. No amount of rocking, soothing, or snuggling, consoled her. I'm sure it was the shots for baby.

Tuesday, 13 July 2023: Cooper's Operation

Cooper’s surgery was this morning. The darker called after to say he had come through it just fine and was coming out of anesthesia we have to say wait to see what the problem is

Through it all, SGM has been the best baby. She's been smiling the whole time we've been here and she's beginning to coo. She loves Kermit singing The Rainbow Song and Judy Garland singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021: The Unboxing

For the last two days, the girls have been working on unboxing the stuff. The kitchen and the breakfast nook were major endeavors. I move stuff from one place to another, one floor to another, and moved empty boxes, and boxes full of wrapping paper to the garage.

Cooper is doing well and will be coming home tonight. He'll be restricted in his movements for two weeks until the stitches are removed. Poor Buddy. It will be 7 to 10 days before we get the biopsy results.

Andy comes home tomorrow night. He'll be a big help. E needs him here.

I haven't been on my computer since we got here and I don't miss it. I haven't worked out or walked either, but this unboxing and furniture moving is great exercise.

Monday, 12 July 2021: Crisis Mode

We got up early to get ready for the movers to arrive. Her household goods were to arrive by 0800.

Cooper wouldn't wake up. No amount of coaxing from his mom or me we get him moving. This was highly unusual; he knows his routine - get up, pee, and then food. He never misses Meal Time. He needed to go to the emergency animal hospital, but how did we get him there? I fashioned a litter out of an old sheet, but when we tried to pick him up he got to his feet so he was wobbly.

E got him in the car and headed to the hospital, while Kady and I waited for the truck. She was back before the truck arrived. Cooper would need to stay for tests.

The movers arrived with a robust crew, who were all Spanish speakers, but communicated well enough with basic commands like "master bedroom." They were done by about 1400 hours. During the morning E called for Cooper's status updates. They were pretty serious. He would need surgery to figure out exactly what was going on.

Basically, we have a 33% chance he's got cancer with a few months to live, a 33% chance of a large tumor giving him about a month, and a 33% chance he has a benign tumor that can be removed from which he may recover. He would stay overnight to hydrate and for medications to make him comfortable. The surgery will take place Tuesday.

Sunday, 11th July 2021: North

I drove for two hours today, the most I've driven since February. I'm back.

Katie and I decided to drive to E's house a day early to help her receive her household goods, rather than get up at the crack of dawn Monday morning.

Driving felt great and I'm sure Katie was ready for me to be the primary driver again. We were there by noon, able to feed SGM and walk Cooper. E is still a little overwhelmed with the baby, the puppy the new house, furniture delivery, and preparing for a new job. Who wouldn't be?

Before we left this morning I went to Walmart to buy an air mattress to sleep on for the night, gassed up Katie's car, and hit McDonald's for breakfast. By the time I got home she was ready to go and said I was “late."

I love her.

Thursday, 8 July 2021: The Search for the first Ms. E. C. Neel

My Grandfather died before I was born. My Brother Jim was only one when he passed, so he doesn't remember him either. Emmette Conwell Neel looks like such a happy fellow in family photographs. I wish I had known him.

We know a lot about him from our father, aunts, and uncles; the family was always very close. Family reunions always abounded with fun stories from the past. He worked with his father in a country store in Binnsville Mississippi, Enlisted during WWI in the Medical Corps, returned from the war, and helped move the family to Geiger Alabama. He married Grandmother, Myrtle Wicks Williams, in 1922. Together they ran Neel Eats, a small restaurant in Geiger, and, later, he was the Postman for the area.

He died in 1949 from a heart attack. He was only fifty-four.

Last week, Jim asked me if I knew the name of Granddaddy Neel's first wife.

First Wife?! What first Wife?

Jim went on to explain that a photo of a beautiful young woman hung in Grandmother Neel's house until the day she died. When he asked about it, Grandmother told him it was his grandfather's first wife and that she had died young. Knowing how much grandaddy loved her, she promised that the photo would always hang in her house. Jim thinks he remembers that she died in the 1918 Flu Epidemic. He was writing a piece on our pandemic and the 1918 epidemic and how the current illness of his beloved wife impacts his family.

All of this was news to me. I've never seen mention of her in any of my family research.

I told him I'd look.

So far, the only thing I have found is a marriage Record from Henry County Georgia for an Emmett Conwell neel and a Miss Ruth Elizabeth Clark, married 24 April 1917. This fits amazingly well with Emmette's Time-Line but remains inconclusive.

Convincingly, we know a LOT of Clarks in the Sumpter County/Kemper County area. Two Clark brothers married two of grandaddy's sisters. Samuel married Mary Alice and Ollie married Edna.

Equally compelling, my aunt is named Myrtle Ruth. As far as I know, there are no other Ruths in a family that had a habit of using family names.

We asked other cousins, some knew the story, others, like I, did not. No one knew the name and no one knows what happened to the photo.

One source is not enough.

I need to find a grave but, so far, I've come up empty. She would have, most likely, been buried in Binnsville Cemetery but I have searched there and in every cemetery in the area on Find-a-Grave with no success. I've also searched Salem Cemetery in Macon, Mohegan cemetery off Highway 45 in Noxubee County, Souls Cemetery in Geiger.

Find-a-grave is never exhaustive. Finding it may require a hunting trip.

Finding her death record or a newspaper obituary would be good. You'd think there would be a roll of people who died in the pandemic, but, not that I can find. No Luck so far.

There are a number of Ruth Clarks in Georgia Census reports. One is a match and I'm accepting it, a 1910 Henry County report listing the family of James W. Clark and Mary S. with three kids, William M, Ruth (born about 1893), and Helen. The 1920 Census of that family lists only Helen and her parents in the household, which fits.

There are two graves in a cemetery in Henry County that are almost an exact match, Memorial Number 31603939 on Find-a-Grave, for a James W. and Mary "F". The dates do not match the Census.

Frustrating? Hell Yes.

A close relationship with any of these Clarks with the Clarks in the family would suffice. Jim and I surmised that she was a visiting cousin who caught the Neel boy's eye. That's how we're justifying Emmette traveling to Georgia to get married. I've come up empty here as well.

First-hand accounts are always best, so we're looking for the letters from WWI and seeing if our Uncle Tommy remembers.

And . . . her name may not have been Ruth and this is just a Rabbit Hole into which I've coaxed poor Jim.

I may have to re-join Ancestry. Yuck!

I will not quit!

Wednesday, 7 July 2021: A Crazy Start to the Week

E, A, SGM, and Cooper came in Monday afternoon to pick up their furniture at our house. They are like a whirlwind when they arrive. They come in the door with the diaper bag, their own bags, Cooper's things, a bassinet, the stroller, the Dock-a-Tot, bottles, formula, dog food, and every other thing needed to support their new existence.

Seconds later, Cooper needs a walk, SGM needs a bottle, E has crashed in my recliner, I'm walking Cooper, Kady is feeding SGM, and A is coordinating for tomorrow's move while moving all their stuff from the car.

About an hour after they arrive, Jay, KS, and Em come over for supper, we order Chick-fil-a through DoorDash, it arrives, the sorting takes place on the table, my food is missing, Jay's still playing with SGM, Em is bored and needs my attention, the baby is passed from person to person while Mom keeps a sharp eye on things.

It's a madhouse.

Once Jay takes his brood home, it calms down a bit. I'm the first in bed.

Tuesday morning, I take Cooper for his walk and feed him his breakfast while A feeds SGM. I make my breakfast and eat it in my room, door closed. E and Kady get up a little later. E and A leave to pick up the trailer and I go get Kady a McDonald's breakfast, while she watches SGM.

When I get back with breakfast, Jay is already at the house to help A move a chest downstairs. I move what I can, a rocking chair, the legs to the coffee table, a suitcase, and a few other small items. A packs the trailer, loads up the stuff they brought with them, and then, as quickly as they came, they are gone.

I sat down on the couch next to Kady, looked at her, and said, "That was a LOT!" She laughed and told me that it wasn't that bad.

She's been in Pajamas all day today and watched Wimbledon from her bed.

Saturday, 3 July 2021: The New Site

Imagine, I have been struggling with paying money for my site when, all this time, I could have been doing the exact same thing for free. What a Bobo!

Well, after a little learning, some major experimenting, I have it looking mostly like I want it. Today, I finished loading my stories and will, now, begin to add new content. The first is a story about Grenada.

I've begun watching The Expanse again. I am amazed how much I missed in the first watching. Tonight Kady and I are watching a movie together, one of her scary movies. Tomorrow, I'll be cooking out on my Grill for the first time in about a year. Crazy!

Wednesday, 30 June 2021: The Drop Off

There was no walk for me this morning. The girls wanted to get on the road by 0830, so there was no time for that. Of course, we didn't leave until 0930. SGM drives this train and Baby Girl decided to sleep in this morning.

No problem, A only beat us there by three minutes. My reunion with Cooper was SWEET!

Once there, we unloaded the cars and the Travel Trailer and then the kids went to pick up some chairs they had bought while Kady and I watched the baby and Coop. While they were gone, their treadmill was delivered by two unmotivated guys who acted like the thing weighed a ton. After they left, I moved it to the other side of the hall, alone, with one arm.

Kady and I left when they got home and took the scenic route back home through Harpers Ferry, Front Royal, and Perryville. It was a nice drive.

Sunday, 27 June 2021: Converging on Maryland

A and Cooper left Kansas City this morning, on their way to Maryland, pulling the camper with the Atlas. They should be in Maryland by Wednesday. E and SGM are still with us and we'll all close in on their new place, hopefully before the lads get there.

We went up to see the new place, yesterday. It could be a really nice place, but whoever owns it has zero taste. Maybe they're just lazy slum lords. Shortcuts have been taken throughout the house and it is really dated. This is a four-story townhouse in what looks like a pretty new neighborhood and it is going to need a LOT of work before E and A will feel like it is nice enough to rent.

Example: The Walls are off-white throughout the house. The outlets and switches are Tan. Some idiot came through and replaced the outlet and switch covers with white covers. So, you have off-white walls, tan electrical points, and white covers, except for some, which are all tan. It's so ugly!

E told A that they all have to be replaced. There are tons of other things from drapes to cabinet pulls that are in sad shape. As E mentioned issues, I made a list on Keep and sent it to her.

Once they are done, it'll be nicer, but they shouldn't have to do that. I hope they make the landlord dit all.

Another thing that would bug the shit out of me - There is zero phone service in the area. No Lie! Zero Bars. In a major city in Maryland. In 2021. We walked to a nice Mexican restaurant, was really good.

Friday, 25 June 2021: First Stop, Charlottesville

E, A, and SGM flew in today from Kansas City. A has to go back to get the Drive the RV, E's car, and get Cooper out of puppy daycare, then he'll drive to Maryland. He'll have to go back again to get his truck. I'm not counting them as completely out of Kansas until he does that. I'll be glad when it's DONE!

E and SGM will stay here until he gets back.

E, Kady, SGM, and I will be going up to see the house in Maryland tomorrow, an easy 2,5-hour drive north.

I went this morning and renewed my driver's license. I went ahead and got a Real ID, which meant I had to prove I was a US Citizen and that I lived in Virginia. I had to show my birth certificate, my social security card, a photo ID, and two documents with my address. I'll get a Star on my driver's license. I also had a Veteran's Designation added. I'm not sure what that gets me, but I had to show my DD-214 to get it.

So, Bess is serviced, I have a renewed driver's license, and my arm is good enough to drive. Things are looking up.

I need to go see Rebecca.

Wednesday, 23 June 2021: The Week So Far

Monday was a scorcher. I went for a walk at 0500 and it was already 77 degrees. The humidity was up around 50%. I didn't go far. It was a workout day and I added more weight and resistance, not much, but enough to feel it. NO SHARP PAIN! That's the rule. I'm getting stronger but still can't lift my arm.

Tuesday was only stretching. I did a session in the morning, one at noon, and then another before bed. At 0900, Kady and I took Bess in for a 150,000-mile service. It was a big one, servicing the cooling system, the transmission, differential, bearings. They changed the oil and filter, changed the cabin filter, replacing two marker bulbs, and rotated the tires. $800 later, I picked her up and drove her a bit. Amazing the difference! It rained most of the day, so I didn't walk. Thanks, Malloy Ford!

This morning I went for a four-miler. It was cool out . . . in the 60s. I had a good walk and listened to Breath on Radiolab.

At 1000, Kady and I went to the big White Oak out by the Airport to photograph it in Summer. She coordinated for us to get in the gate this time. What a tree! You don't get how big it is until you walk right up to it.

Sandy came up for the day, bringing a few furniture items from his storage shed for Kady and E. We played some cards and then went to Matchbox Pizza in Stonefield.

Sunday, 20 June 2021: Fathers Day Weekend

I slept in hard this morning, getting up after 0900. I ate my breakfast and drank my coffee in our backspace. It's so nice out there. It's a thing. I got a text from Kady about ten letting me know that we were going to lunch at 1100. I had requested Bonefish Grill and she had made a reservation, though upon arriving we realized we didn't need it.

We always get Bang-bang Shrimp as an appetizer, which we share. Damn, I love that stuff.

I ordered the Steak and Crab Cake, with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. Everything was perfect. Kady had the fish and chips, likewise delicious.

DJ came to see me yesterday; it was good to see her. We had lunch at Martin's Grill. I had the Tom Rubin, which I had never had. It was GREAT! She had the regular Rubin which she liked. I ordered us a basket of Tots.

After lunch, we went for a walk at Preddy Creek Trail Park, where I got turned around. Our stroll turned into a four-mile hike. It's easy to do out there. Take a Map and Compass. I had already walked four miles in the morning, so my FitBit was very happy after this.

I took some photos along the way but I was unmotivated to do so. She looks so unhealthy, unhappy, and defeated.

Change 1000: E, A, and SGM are all flying here on Friday. There's an electrical problem with the RV, so they had to cancel their plan to travel to Maryland with it. A is going to fly back, finish work, and then he and Cooper are pulling the trailer to Maryland while E and SGM stay with us.

Tuesday, Bess goes in for her 150,000-mile maintenance. Wednesday, we're planning on photographing the Airport Tree. This time, Kady is getting us inside the fence.

Thursday, 17 June 2021: Kady's Birthday

I didn't walk this morning, waiting on Kady to wake, so I could go fetch her some breakfast at McDonald's. Waiting, I took the time to start this new Blogger blog thing. It's pretty simple and intuitive, though some of the elemental adjustment tools were hard to find.

My workouts are going well. The pain at the operation site has subsided a bit, so, I'm guessing, the three-day rest was good for it. My shoulder is a bit stiffer, but I'm back to working it three times a day.

Friday, 11 June 2021: Home

Kady and I just finished the three-day trip home. I am so glad to be here, where chairs are comfortable and where I have all my stuff around me. Now I have things to do, starting with Bess, then cleaning the back space, putting up the unbrella, and wiring it so I can play out there.

Monday was my lnext tothe last PT session with Natalie. it went well and I could see that I'm getting stronger. After the session, I tool Cooper for a walk. He's the thing I'll miss most about being here.

Tuesday, I had lots of Savannah Time, rocking her, singing to her, and, feeding her for the first time. She's such a sweetheart.

Wednesday. was my last PT session with natalie. She gave me a program of exercises and stretches to carry me forward. Kady and I left immediately after that. We stopped in at Mt. Vernon, IL for the night.

Thursday, we drove through Kentucky, stopping just inside West Virginia, a little past Huntington.

Friday, We finished off the drive. Poor Kady did all the driving. I know she was tired. She's had to do so much for me since I hurt my Arm.

As for me, I rested my Arm the whole trip. I passed the time Wazing. I find it a lot of fun, trying to earn pointss

Saturday, 5 June 2021: More Anxiety

The past few days have been a mess. A went back to work, Kady picked up his slack, and E has been ill with an infection, my workouts have gotten harder, Cooper had some raised numbers in his blood work, and SGM has moved into the witching hour period, where nothing comforts her.

E finally went to the hospital last night. They gave her Amoxicillin. She began feeling immediately better. I've become a baby whisperer of sorts. I'm nowhere near as good as Kady, E, or A, but when all else fails, My rocking and singing routine seems to quiet her. I love it.

Cooper had to go back to the Vet this morning for a few more tests. Earlier indications looked like either liver problems or cancer. He came back with better results which relieved everyone.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021: One Week to Go

SS left this morning. He was all packed and headed to his truck as I got up, around 0630.I bid him safe travels and thanked him for all he did for us this past weekend. Now, he's headed home with all Kim's furniture. I'm a bit worried about him. The U-Haul trailer wasn't the best kept, he has a long drive, and then he has to unload allthat stuff on the far end with only the help of his neighbors. We'll track him throughout the day.

I have three more P-T sessions to do, one Friday, another Monday, and then my last one next Wednesday. Kady and I will leave Manhattan for home immediately after. I'm ready but want to do as many sessions with Natalie (Natalie Hawkins, PT, DPT) as I can before I leave. I don't plan to do any more after that. The rest of the healing, range, and strength is just going to take time and work. I can do that.

Sunday, 30 May 2021: The Storage Shed

I got up about 0545 this morning. Kady was on the bed above me; I was on the trundle bed below. SS was in the guest room. The kids were all still asleep, so I had a nice , quiet breakfast to myself. Then SGM woke and the whole house started to come alive.

I was supposed to meet DJ for a virtual coffee, but I cancelled because there was zero privacy in the house.

The afternoon was spent unloading the kid's storage shed. It took us three trips. We put the shed items that E is keeping in the graage and packed the items Kady is keeping in a trailer SS rented to take to the Tennessee storage station. Most of these items will go in SS's house, when he finishes it. That way, Kady can have them when she moves there after I pass on.

That may not be a joke.

Saturday, 29 May 2021: SS Arrives

SS came in today to move some of Kady's Stuff to his storage shed in Tennessee. We went to A & E's storage shed to see what would go to Tennessee, what would go to Maryland, and brought a few things back in SS's truck for E to go through before the move. We tried to get on Post, but they wouldn't let SS in the gate without going to the main gate visitor's center and signing-in. How silly. We were right behind two officers and Kady and I showed our Military IDs. Hell SS is a retired GS.

Tonight a Red Tailed Hawk got sideways with the transformer down the street and died by electrical shock, with a half-eaten rabbit in its talons. Damn. What a beautiful bird it was, huge, with a wing span of about 4-feet or more. I took the carcass out into the woods for the coyotes.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021: A New Schedule

In happy news, Kady and I will head home earlier than expected. E is comfortable and ready to go it alone with just A, SGM, and Cooper, getting their life going as a family. Our plan is to cancel my last PT Appointment here and depart after my appointment on 9 June, departing for Virginia on 10 June, arriving on the 11th.

I forgot to mention something that happened over the weekend: Jake texted me, something he rarely does, and asked if I had photos of my car I could send him. Do I Ever! I sent him three of my favorites. I asked if he wanted to go for a drive in it once I got home and he said, "That sounds good." Good? I love this boy. I told him riding in a Chevy would be good, but a Mustang wound be GREAT!.

I found out later that his dad had let him drive the family car and that now he's all excited to get his learner's permit in June. Just one more thing to look forward to, going home.

My P-T workout went well today and I think I surprised Natalie with my progress. We began with a talk about the last exercise the guy had me do during my last session that hurt me. She totally got it. I trust her, told her so, and told her I wasn't doing anything else that felt wrong to me, unless she approved it. She agreed.

Monday, 24 May 2021: Walking

I put in 7+ Miles today. First I walked to Top-of-the-World and then we all walked to Old Chicago Pizza for a beer. It was OK. Not my favorite place. Hummm? Do I have a favorite place in Manhattan?

Friday, 21 May 2021: Al and Barb

A's parents, Al and Barb came in yesterday. Their reaction over SGM, their first grandchild, had E in tears. Barbara spent loads of time holding and feeding little girl. Al pretty much stood back and watched. He told me he'd take her fishing later. I love that.

After Supper, bison burgers by A, we played Dirty Sevens with two decks. It was a lot of fun, but, poor E was tired, se we only played a few hands.

This morning was the most perfect day for walking that I've had since getting back to Kansas. It was in the low seventies, partly cloudy, with a constant cool breeze. After coffee and some fruit, I did my exercises, and took off. I had a great walk, all the way around the golf course, ate a light lunch, drank a lot of water, and then took a nap, Everyone else had Jimmy Johns, which I'm tired of, and went for a walk at City Park.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021: Sands of Time Sequel

If you have ever had a discussion with me about books, stories, or literature in general, you have, no doubt, heard of the short story The Sands of Time by P. Schuyler Miller. Published in 1938, I found it included in an anthology paperback of my Dad's, called Adventures in Time and Space. This little book was packed with great stories. I fell in love with Sands. It has a great story with time travel, dinosaurs, a hero Irishman, and a beautiful alien girl, that moves back and forth across 64-million years. It is fun. cleaver, exciting, and the ending is perfect . . . making you wonder. Making you wish you knew the rest of the story. What happened to Terry and Lana?

About a week ago, I found out that Miller had written a sequel called the Coil of Time and it was published in the May 1938 issue of Astonishing Magazine. I found a copy for sale and had Kady order it for me. What cost 20-cents in 1938, cost me $20-plus-shipping in 2021.

As soon as it arrived, I dove into the story, billed in the magazine as "The Long awaited Sequel."

I was a little disappointed that the story didn't begin with Terry or even Professor Beldon. I didn't find it well written at all and gone were the easy character developments of Sands, as well as the easy to follow story-lines. Miller's attempts at world-building, I felt, were too grandiose for the length of the story, leaving me wondering what the hell he was saying.

Finally, Terry and Lana appear in the story and Miller goes about describing what happened after Sands. It was Weak! It was too Easy! Oh, it's two hundred years after Sands, and Terry is still alive . . . because Lana and her people, from Mars, of course, have a magic elixir, of course, that prolongs life, too Easy. Add a race war between black and white Martians, where the blacks are led by a white guy, who turn earthlings into blue-blooded zombie troops, controlled by a black box on their neck, and hero space pilot whose name I already can't remember, who, of course, falls for the girl damsel in distress, whose description is very close to Lana's, and you have the makings of a real jumbled up, unimaginative mess of a story.

What a letdown after the well thought-out time travel theme of the first story. I STILL think it was a stroke of genius to coil time through space on a 64-million year path, that could be compressed for a jump across. Gone are the paradoxes of shooting one's grandfather or running into yourselfwhen you can only travel 64-million years ether way.

My goal for the next few days is to re-read Sands, and then to forget this ever happened.

I may have injured my shoulder today doing a stupid exercise. I didn't have Natalie as my PT today, but a new guy, who I think was making it up as he went.

Sunday, 16 May 2021: The Vaccine and Storms

Kady and I got our COVID Vaccine yesterday. We chose the Johnson and Johnson, a one-dose shot, that is supposed to be 75% effective. She found two shots at Dillon's, one at the close store for her and mine at the store across town. Driving, waiting, registration, and the fifteen minutes you have to be observed after took us about an hour to accomplish. The effects were mild for me; I felt a little tired, had a very mild headache for a few minutes, and slept about 12 hours.

Last night was another all-morning lightening storm. There were a few close strikes, but mostly we had constant rumbling and lightening flashed in the distance. It seemed to me in my sleepy state, that it poured rain all morning as well. It made for great sleeping.

I decided to get up at 0830 when I heard SGM crying. After Breakfast, I took Cooper for a pee and then fed him.

Friday, 14 May 2021: Long Walk

SGM and Mom had a check-up this morning. Kady was going shopping. Cooper's walker, Jesse was came for him about noon. I took the time to go for a long walk.

I took my camera.

I walked the Hudson Trail all the way to Top-of-the-World. Wow! What a difference the warmer weather and rain have made in the prairie. It has gone from brown to bright green in just a few days.

The day was overcast and there was a light wind, so my walk was comfortable. I put in almst six miles and it felt great.

I held SGM a long time tonight. We sang all the songs. She smiled a lot through Rainbow Connection, sung in my best Kermit voice, so I'm guessing that's her favorite. You Can Close Your Eyes by James Taylor is one I've sung to both my children and all my grandchildren. I could tell she liked that one too.

Little girl is a night person. She slept all day long, waking only to feed, then woke up about 1800, and had a good look around. It was the most I had seen her awake since she got home.

Thursday, 13 May 2021, A Good Movie

I highly suggest the movie Hachi: A Dog's Tale. It is a really good movie and well worth the time. Be prepared to cry. I wept more than I did at Old Yeller, though crying is nothing new these days for me. I cry at everything.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021: SGM Comes Home

SGM came home today. A and E got her home about 1450, driving from Kansas City. She is, truly, the prettiest baby I have ever seen, and I'm not just saying that because I'm her grandfather. She is a very calm little thing, seeming very content, and sleeps well, especially after eating. I got to hold her for the first time.

I used my phone to take my first photos of her.

Cooper and I did a long walk in preparation for her arrival. He was just great, but really wants to play with her. There was a lot of inquisitive sniffing from him, but he was gentle and calm. He'll be a great big brother and protector.

My workout session went well. Natalie used "cupping" for the first time. At first it seemed a little like using leeches or crystals, but worked amazingly well and really helped get more range out of my arm. She had me use slightly heavier resistance bands, added a 5lb weight to my bench-press, and added a wrist exercise.

Monday, 10 May 2021: Shifting to the Right

Elise is feeding the baby well and bilrubin levels are still down, but the doctors want to cut back on her IV fluids tonight and remove the IV tomorrow morning. Then, they want to observe her for 24 hours, making sure she is still getting enough fluids by feeding.. We're looking at release from the hospital sometime on Wednesday.

A got hold of the medical chart today which said the injury was a Subgleal Hematoma, a more dangerous version the other two. We are fortunate that the folks at the Army hospital MedEvaced her.

My PT is going well. Natalie seemes pleased with my progress in both areas but instructed me to hold my shoulder abduction and scaption exercises longer. I'll shoot for ten seconds. She has also added a behind the back pulley exercise.

Sunday, 9 May 2021: Light Pad

As a precautionary measure against Jaundice, SGM has spent the day on a blue-green light-emmitting pad. The bilirubin levels in her blood, a byprduct of absorbing the blood in her enjury, were high. She'll be on the pad for a total of 24 hours. While on the pad, she is wearing a little velcro mask t shield her eyes from the light. The next step is to feed her so she will poo. The light breaks down the bilirubin in her body and the poo helps expel the bilirubin from her system.

If all goes well, we may get to see her tomorrow.

Daddy A is doing such a great job documenting this in photos and up-dates.

Saturday, 8 May 2021: Getting Mommy and Baby Back Together

While I took Cooper for his morning walk, Kady left for the hospital. A sent a great little photo of SGM sleeping, propped on her side, I assume to protect the swelling. Kady tells me that SGM cries and moves her head away everytime it is touched. The doctor told A this morning that the place had receded a little since yesterday. She has a little splint on her arm to protect her IV that I know has to be painful.

She is more beautiful today than yesterday.

Photo by Daddy A

Kady and E will meet A half-way.

Around 1230, Kady and E came by the house to pick up a few things. It was great for Cooper to see E; he's been pouting a bit the last few days. With all the deployments the kids have had, you can't blame him for having some seperation anxiety. I took him for a little walk after she left, then he took a nap.

After the handoff, A took E straight to the hospital, got the baby in her arms and snapped a photo . . . to everyone's delight and relief.

While I was here, alone, awaiting news on the situation, Ryan virtually held my hand and talked it out with me. I still count on her during times like this, and she, me.

We have a Tornado Watch for tomorrow morning, 0100. It's Kansas. We've had potholes, death spiders, slipery ice, helicopters, why not throw in a fuckin' Tordado?

Friday, 7 May 2021: SGM

She's Here! SGM was born at 0344 this morning, weighing 8-pounds and 7-ounces, and 19.5-inches long. E had to deliver her by Caesarean Section after a valiant struggle with A by her side. Like a champ, A kept the rest of the family up-dated via texts and photos.

It's a good day! Welcome to the world little girl. I look forward to meeting you in person and sharing the Universe with you.

First Photos by Daddy A:

Though under strict orders from E and Kady not to tell anyone, I cheated and told a few people. Live With It!

1005: There's a problem. SGM is being Air-lifted to Kansas City. Dad is drivng there. Kady is on her way to stay with Mom. That's all I know right now.

1100: Andy came by to clean up, change clothes, and then drive to KC.

1200: Cooper's walker , Jessie, took him for a walk.

1300: Better news. The conditions they are checking for are called Caput Succedaneum, bloody fluid buildup on the scalp or Cephalohematoma, fluid buildup from broken blood vessels. Both are fairly common conditions in long labors.

1620: A messaged to let everyone know that the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit doctors say Savannah is fine and that the expect the place to disapate on its own. They will oserver SGM for a while and have been communicating with E to see how she wants to handle feeding until they can get her there. By all accounts, they are a super team.

Kady came home from the hospital when E went to sleep for the night, bringing TACOS! Her plan is to sleep here, go back and pick up E at Noon, driver either all the way to KC or half-way to link up with A, to ger Mother and Baby back together. They think SGM will be released on either Sunday or Monday.

This is going to be a story to tell SGM when she's older.

Saturday, 1 May 2020: Making a Plan

Still, No Baby. The waiting continues.

I've been walking more, eating less, and drinking more water. The food situation had been better as we have been cooking here for the last three nights. A is like Kady, a really good cook. E and I benefit from that when they combine their talents.

I gave Kady a list of all the places I want to go and told her, she needs to drive me Tuesdays and Thursdays. Going is what I need. Getting Out!

I ordered a copy of the 1971 movie, Vanishing Point and it came yesterday. I watched it straight away. One of my favorites!

The Internet here is like living in a third-world country, slow and intermittent. It ain't A's fault, he has a nice Wifi Router, it's the service provider. I need MY service. I need my big screen.

Thursday, 29 April 2021: Feeling Down

I am so fucking bored.

I live for walks. Walks are becoming boring. I need to go different places.

I live for Food. Food is becoming redundant. Today, I had the worst Subway Sandwich EVER! Kady's kooking is the only thing keeping me going.

I live for Movies. I watched Stowaway, the new Netflix Offering, with Anna Kendrick. Who would make a movie and kills Anna Kendrick? No one in their right mind. The girl is the Nation's Sweetheart!

Come on, man! Who sends people out in space with no back-up Carbon Dioxide Scrubber? And, DUDE! We built a scrubber on Apollo 13 out of duct tape, a bit of hose, a plastic, a cue card, and some spare parts. And, And, WHO goes EVA without a safety line? HELL, that rope and a simple knot would have done the trick. And, And , AND, who came up with this idea for gravity? So many problems there! Weight distribution, solar array and comms orientation, braking, . . . and why gravity. We can get there in about seven months. I think the need for gravity was a movie simplifying one, no need for special effects other than the floating necklace.

Yay for Longmire.

Monday, 26 April 2021: No Baby

0800: Still No Baby. E slept thru the night, still having mild contractions.

0915: PT. Natalie killed me today, but my arm feels better, though tired. She gave me permission to do light bicep and tricep curls, rows, and lateral pulldowns.

1100: Grocery Pick-up. Kady shopped at Hy-Vee, then we picked-up at Wal-Mart.

1115: Popeye's! I had my first Popeye's Chicken Sandwich. I've heard all the hubbub and, truthfully, thought it bunk, but, damn, these things are yummy! I told Kady that it was my new THING.

1145: Still No Baby

1215: Long Walk. 4-milrs, hot, and windy.

1400: Shower and a Nap

2030: Cards

2200: Bedtime, No Baby.

Sunday, 25 April 2021: Contractions

E began having regular contractions this morning. When they began happening one minute apart, she and A went to the hospital. After a quick look, the doctor sent her home; no dilation. Now, we're just waiting.

Kady helped me make my Cuban Coffee this morning and it looked perfect, but too sweet for me. I have to cut down on the sugar that I put in it. I believe one tablespoon will do. Tomorrow, I'm just going to make espresso.

Cooper and I went for a good walk today. He can tell something's up with his mom.

Tomorrow is PT. I'm babying my left bicep till then.

Saturday, 24 April, 2021: Another Way to Make Coffee

I'm making plans to do a camping trip down the Outer Banks this fall. As part of my packing list , I need a coffee pot. I thought that an old style percolator might be good, but, doing some research, I found an expresso coffee pot which is small, light, and easy to use. I bought one off of Amazon, with some La LLave Expresso grounds, and tried it out this morning. Though it was a little messy, because I have things to learn (less coffee in the sugar and put the top down!), the Cuban coffee that I made was delicious. Tomorrow I will perfect the sugar-foam. This pot, along with my Kurig, French Press, and Turkish Coffee Pot will become part of my coffee repertoire.

This morning Cooper and I went for a short walk only about 2.3 miles. After his morning constitutional, I headed back up the Hill with the intentions of going for a longer walk. He was unimpressed add took to lying down at every shady spot that he could find. Kady called me to tell me that she was hungry and wanted to know what I wanted, I wisely chose Jimmy John's. She told me I should head back, saving Cooper from a long walk.

After lunch she and I went for a short walk around Frank Anneberg Park, her favorite place to walk. The conversation was lively, all about disinformation and misinformation on the Internet and TV . I love talking to her. She is so intelligent, so opinionated, and so informed. I could talk to her like I can talk to no one else in the whole world.

She is been so good to me, taking care of me, driving me wherever I want to go, making sure I have everything that I need to be comfortable. The other day she noticed that my feet were dried and cracked, and, without asking, bought me a foot cream which is simply amazing. She has been pretty much taking care of everybody here , making meals washing dishes and cleaning up the place. I'm sure that Elisea and Andy really appreciate all of the help.

My Job? Cooper.

Wednesday, 21 April, 2021: A Reader Rises

I knew this would happen, I prepared myself for the inevitability.

My site has been down for only a few days and I just got my first e-mail.

SGM, What’s this I see about you closing down your site? How will I be able to keep tabs on you? What will happen next to Bess? How will I get my fix of war stories? Where will I get my balanced and reasonable takes on politics and the direction of the country?

This is from a former cadet, Swedish citizen, and important guy in an international organization. Wow. I'm honored and a bit surprised he has the time.

But I'm not second-guessing. I wrote him a nice note, explaining.

My arm is tired! They worked it hard today, or, rather, they made me work it hard. While I iced, they did electrical muscle stmulation (EMS).

Tuesday, 20 April 2021: April Snow

It went into the 20s last night and snowed. We got a couple of inches on the cars, grass, and trees. The Roads were clear. It was mostly gone by Noon. My kind of snow!

I went out for a second to take this photo, but I was really careful.

NASA's Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, took off and flew a bit yesterday. Totally Amazing. The video view, taken from the rover was pretty amazing. America!

Sunday, 18 April 2021: The Simplest of Flowers

Simplifying my life is hard. This morning I realized it was DJ's birthday and HAD to send her a text. I didn't want to hurt her feelings on her birthday. As I begin ghosting the world, I'm sure there will be some feelings hurt.

While I was thinking "simple" this morning, I determined to go out, no matter the weather, to take photos of Dandelions. The fields are covered with them here and they are about the only flower blooming. Yes, I know they are considered a weed, buy I'll pit their blooms against any other flower for pure beauty. The capitulum has been my favorite part since blowing them as a kid and are probably where we got the idea for the Mass Tactical Parachute Assault. :o)

Cooper and I did a longer walk today, 4.23-miles. That's the longest walk I've done since November and, wow, it felt so good. We went behind the golf course, through the clubhouse parking lot, and then back home. I like that walk.

Next Sunday we'll keep going all the way around the course, close to 6-miles.

I have physical therapy tomorrow.

Saturday, 17 April 2021: De-Activating

I've just deactivated both my Instagram and Facebook accounts. I've deleted the passwords and removed the bookmarks from my browser. I kept going to both pages to make sure people hadn't sent me a message, not wanting to hurt feelings, or perhaps it was the fear of missing out (FOMO), a real thing.

This should fix me. I'm Fading Away. . . from the internet.

This page may also disappear in June. I'm not renewing my account on Go Daddy, though my site hosting will continue into next year. I have, preemptively, posted a goodbye index page and have taken down the balance of the site.

Get This! It's supposed to drop to the twenties Monday night and snow Tednesday morning. Damn you,Kansas!

Friday, 16 April 2020: Rain

As if Kansas couldn't get more dreary, it is rainy today. It's really hard to look at the Charlottesville Weather Report. It is bright, warm, and sunny there, and has been since we left. The Manhattan forecast for next week looks like more of the same dreariness. Week after next looks like it will go into the seventies. I need that.

Thursday, 15 April 2020: Back to the Prairie

My exercises wipe me out. I'm supposed to do them three times a day. That is a struggle. Some days, I'm so tired that I just can't do that last set. BUT, I'm getting more and more Range of Motion back in the arm. I sleep better at night, now that I can, very carefully, lay and sleep on my left side.

I went back out to Washington Marlatt Park today. Except for the low areas where the trees grow, it is a brown and barren place. This time of year, inly a few shoots of green can be seen in the brown duff left from last year. I heard that they burned it off and saw one field outside the park that had been, but it was obvious that they didn't do it this year. Elise believes it is because it has been really dry and windy this year.

I'll go back in a couple of weeks to see what has changed. The prairie flowers have got to be blooming soon. Until then, I think I'm going to do a study of Dandelions.

I still want to photograph the wheat.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021: The Sad Texts

I got two sad texts yesterday.

SS let me know hat Blue had been killed by a car. Sad thing, but Blue lived a free life and was the consummate Tomcat. My biggest worry was for Gray. What will he do without Blue? They were inseparable. Sandy is pragmatic about this; they are Barn Cats to him, farm animals, but I really bonded with them last Summer. Plus, I love cats.

L-Train let me know that he was having his retirement parade this Friday. He'll retire this summer, so I hope to be at his Commandant's Staff Retirement Party. Gary and I have worked together since 1997, except for that year in Turkey. He and I were MS-1 Branch Instructors in VMI ROTC. He was the XO and I the Battalion Sergeant major. He was instrumental in getting me the job at VMI after I retired. I have never known a finer man, nor have I known one with a memory like his. I swear that he remembers every cadet that passed through the Institute during his time and can call them by name. He is amazing. Most Cadets love him, some fear him, all respect him. VMI will not be the same without him.

Today, Kady, E, Cooper and I went for a drive around the town and out to the Tuttle Creek Reservoir. Elise anted to be out of the house while she had a cleaning crew come in and work on the house, part of her pre-move plan. She's got is all thought out and is well organized. Imagine trying to have a baby, while working during COVID, getting ready to move half way across the country, end this job, start a new one, find and move into a new house, all in three months. That's the Army Life!

The best part of the trip yesterday was a rail bridge across the Big Blue River. Kimberly and I both took photos and they look amazingly similar. She's better that I am.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021: Baby Watch

SG has flipped, head down, and Elise is having some contractions. Her doctor said she could come at any time and gave Elise “quarters” until Friday. He ordered her to begin pre-delivery quarantine after that. This effectively ends her job at Ft. Riley and we’re all happy about that. Riley is a messed-up (read: FUCKED-UP) place.

We’re all on Baby watch, each with our assigned jobs when the inevitable happens. I have Cooper, which Elise tells me is my only responsibility.

I wish Elise would let me take her photograph. I believe in future years she will wish she had. I asked once; that’s it.

Kimberly has been cooking up a storm, all my favorites, so my Intermittent Fasting has been intermittent. I’m sorry, but I cannot resist her Cornbread Chicken Stuff. Maybe I can begin again, tonight. I need to, I’ve had acid reflux for the past four nights. I’m up to 232 pounds as of this morning. My Buddha Body depresses me.

The weather here is still Cold! I didn’t bring clothes for this weather and I hate walking in it. I guess I am going t have to get over that; the weather channel says it’s going to be this way for the next week or two.

Due to a time mixup, I didn’t have Natalie today at Physical Therapy, but a guy named Tony. He was good and tougher than Natalie was last week. That’s what I want and I’m sure he was going by Natalie’s instructions. I expected it to be tougher and to get more physical.

I’ve had an Aged Man Attitude Breakthrough, of sorts. It came to me, Sunday morning. I just want to be me, with my little family, and living my little life.

To that end, I have cleared Facebook and Instagram of all info photos, and posts. I’ve taken Facebook and Facebook Messenger off of my phone. FB Messenger is off of my Computers, as well. Instagram Messages is for my Turk Arkadaslaryim. If you want me, call me. if you don’t have my number, e-mail me. My address is at the tab. All you iPhone BFs need get a Google Account and Google Duo.

I doubt anyone will notice any difference.

Friday, 9 April 2020: Papa

Today was my first walk without the sling. I went 2.5-miles, the farthest I've walked since getting here. It felt great. Tomorrow, I am going to go up to Top of the World and see what the Prarie looks like in Spring.

I've spent the last two days watching the PBS special on Hemingway by Ken Burns. It was very good, except for the parts where the commentators tried to judge Papa by their overly sensitive standards. The special even so far as to redact Hem's use of the N-word, making his texts and notes look like a declassified CIA document. The Hemingway story is a sad, tragic, and triumphant story. It is a story that should be studied in its time and should never be judged or intrepreted by our high and mighty modern standards. We've sure come a long way since the 1960 in American Medecine. With all of the head injuries the man had in his life, his downfall was most probably due to Traumatic Brain Injury. His drinking didn't help.

It was great hearing his voice and that of Martha Gellhorn. Love her.

My workouts are going well. I'm icing.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021: PT-2

Holy Cow. I just read my last post. Too many mistakes! I'm still voice typing and typing with one hand, I'll blame that. The truth is, I never could spell, so I rely on spell-check.

Jessie, Cooper's walker, has been walking my buddy for the last two days. I was a bit jealous, so I took him for a short walk yesterday afternoon. Maybe that's a good plan. I'll go for my walk when she has him and then take him for a walk in the afternoon. That'll give me more exercise and help me achieve my fitness goals. I want to be back down to 220 by the time I go home. I'm glad she walked him today. It's cold and windy out there and I packed for summer.

Today was my second session of physical therapy. Natalie stretched the limits of my shoulder's range and did a lot of deep tissue massage on injured muscles. It was painful but nothing I couldn't handle.

Tomorrow is my last day in the sling. Yay! I begin my Active Assisted Range of Motion exercises (AAROM). My PT has given me three exercises to do until our next session.

Monday, 5 April 2021: PT, Baby Eagles, and Mexican

Today was a banner day. I began my morning by meeting my new PT, Natalie Hawkins, at Mathis Physical Therapy and Hand Center, here in Manhattan. She's great and really knows her stuff. She began by measuring and recording my right arm's range of motion as a base line. Next, she moved my left arm where it could go, recorded that, and then began a stretching, kneading, and massaging regimen for improvement. Once done, she demonstrated my first three AAROM exercises that I'll begin on Thursday and, while I iced, scheduled my appointments for the next six weeks.

When Kady and I got back to the house, the others (Al and Barbara are here for the weekend) were all ready to go to Post to see the Eagles. There is a nesting pair of Bald Eagles, just north of the outdoor Chapel on Fort Riley. Their eggs have just hatched, and you can clearly see the chicks and adults through the telescope that the Army has placed there for that purpose. It was very cool but reinforced my perceived need for a good lens for wildlife; I couldn't get close enough for a decent photo with my 200mm. Maybe after I do the work I want to do on Bess, I'll get something that'll reach out to 500mm.

After watching Eagles, we went to lunch at El Tapitio, our favorite here in Manhattan. I ate way too much.

Saturday, 3 April 2020: Waiting

Me and Math! You know it's bad when you can't count 6 weeks, using a calendar, on a computer. I have One More Week of the goddamnsling. I take it off NEXT Friday. I'm waiting till then to take out my camera. I want ot take some final photos of Kansas, especially downtwn, but don't want to try and balance all the gear while in the sling.

I think my first stop needs to be Aggieville, the old downtown area. It's really a pretty quaint little area with bars, shops, and restaurants catering to the Kansas State students. I think I will get some nice street shots there. After that, I have compiled a list of things I want to see and photograph this trip. I'll post them all on my photo blog.

Wednesday, 31 March 2020: Back in Manhattan

Tuesday Kady and I drove through the rest of Kentucky, through Indiana and Illinois, stopping just past St Louis Missouri at Wentzville.

Today, we drove to Manhattan arriving about 1400. As we were passing the sidewalk where I fell on the ice and destroyed my arm, Kady motioned to it and said, “Maybe we should put a little cross right there.” I tried to act indignant and hurt, but couldn’t. She’s so funny.

Cooper was very happy to see us, running first to Kady, then to me, then back to Kady, then back to me, and then back to Katy. His whole body was wagging. Then, he began started looking for his mom and dad, making sure that they weren't leaving him. He love us, but we aren't Mom and Dad.

He was relieved when they got home from work but stayed right by their side all night.

We had Olive Garden takeout for supper. Delicious! Why in the hell does Charlottesville not have an Olive Garden?!

Monday, 29 March 2021: We're Off

I got up about 0730 this morning, cleaned up my room, hit the shower, and then finished packing. Kady was up by 0800 and we had the car packed and on the road by 0930.

Breakfast was Bojangles Biscuits, easily the best in town. I had the ham. Their coffee is good ss well.

Kady did the driving. Our first leg of the trip took us to Mount Sterling, KY.

Sunday, 28 March 2021: Chinese for the Road

Kady and I went to Jay and KS's for dinner tonight. We had Chinese, my favorite. This place makes great crab meat Rangoons. I had a complete serving of them and told the others to get another serving if they wanted any.

After dinner, I had an allergic reaction to Brasco. I could smell him soon as I walked in the house and in no time I was having trouble breathing and my eyes were itching. Kady took me home for a shower and Benedryl.

Saturday, 27 March 2021: Play Date 2 - A Walk with Em

This afternoon, I watched Em so that Jay and KS could have a little time alone, my little gift for their Anniversary, coming up on Monday. Em and I colored for a while, then started a movie, and then went for a walk around the lake.

I pointed out the birds we saw and identified the bird calls we heard as we walked. When we got to the part of the lake where the turtles sun, she pitched-in by telling me all of their names. All around he lake she was convinced that she could hear abandoned kittens crying. I didn't hear anything, but didn't discourage her. I did, however, put tree climbing off-limits. Maybe we can do that when my arm is better.

Back at their house, we played in the front yard until her parents got home, a few minutes later.

I love spending time with her.

Friday, 26 March 2021: Ahead of the Game

My doc seems pleased. I saw him yesterday and he looked me over, took off the last incision bandage (the others came off on their own), and moved my arm through its current range of motion. He said I was ahead of where most people are at this point. The best thing to come out of his mouth was that I could come out of this goddamnsling (one-word) next week, on Friday.

Kady ordered a pulley system for Kansas I'll begin my Active Assisted Range of Motion (AAROM) exercises once we're there.. I'm looking forward to that. We leave Monday.

I watched The Magic of Belle Isle again today. That movie makes me happy, makes me want to spend time with my grandkids, and make me want to write seriously.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021: Optometry

Yesterday afternoon I had an optometry appointment so Kady and I left about 11:30 headed to Lexington so that we could take the back roads and stay off of Highway 81. We got there a little early so Kady and I drove around Lexington and VMI to see the changes since we left two years ago. I was most impressed with the new bridge over Woods Creek. Scott-Shippe Hall looks nice and the new Aquatic Center is finally underway. Downtown looks pretty much the same. Tong Dynasty is gone, replaced by another Chinese place. The new Salerno's has been refurbished and looks nice.

My appointment was quick and to-the-point but I balked at taking the Field Spectrum Test. It stresses me out an I wasn't in the mood. My doctor said everything looked fine but wants to do that test. We set up another appointment for September after I’m out of the sling, able to drive myself, and in a better mood.

I'm still sleeping like shit. I was up and down all night and finally just gave up, about 0330, made my bed, put on my pajamas, and watched Kevin Costner in For Love of the Game. I love that movie and believe Kelly Preston should have been awarded an Oscar for her role in it. Damn. What a loss.

Kady and I got our Shingles Booster this afternoon.

I had another physical therapy appointment this afternoon. It went well. My PT worked my arm a lot, moving it farther than before, and then worked the ball joint and triceps a lot. I’m icing as I type this. He said I am right where I'm supposed to be.

Tomorrow I will go back to my orthopedic surgeon for a check-up before leaving for Kansas. I've already made my initial appointment with a physical therapist in Manhattan. I see them on 5 April.

Good grief! We're just doing all the medical things.

Monday, 22 March 2021: One Man’s Junk

Yesterday, Kady and I drove to Lucketts Virginia, to visit Old Luckett's Store. The main reason for the trip was to pick up two ceramic elephants for E But we spend a little time looking around the place. It was interesting, mostly junk and broken things, but thrown about in such a way that it caught my photographer’s eye. Junk Yard Feng Shui? I should have taken my camera and taking a lot more photographs. Still, I took a few with my phone and they turned out pretty well.

Except for taking photographs, I didn't see the draw of the place. Is mostly discarded item which and no one would want or even want to refurbish. You could make a fortune by selling all of the scrap metal by the pound. There was an old Studebaker, which had been left to rust. You could see through the skin, especially on the rear end. She was a sad girl. All her chrome was in place and in pretty good shape, so I assume someone could restore her.

There were 2 or 3 old bicycles that could have, easily been made nice and an old Honda 50 motorcycle which I would love to rebuild. When I was a kid I wanted Honda 50. Among the overpriced used furniture, posing as antiques, I saw a couple of chairs that I liked, but that's about it.

It was a beautiful drive and I had a lot of fun with Kady. It was great to get out of the house. Four hours of driving through the Virginia countryside for two elephants was well worth the trip. Had we driven another 30 minutes we would have been in Frederick Maryland. This was a preview of our future life, driving back and forth to see the kids in their new home, beginning this June.

I had a shitty night last night. No amount of moving around made my arm comfortable in the damn sling. The only thing I did differently during the day was the drive, so I want to blame that. More than likely, it was the Arby's Jalapeno Poppers and the Mocca Mint Shake. Will I ever learn?

My walk today was great. It was warm and sunny, with a slight breeze, and I took the time to just sit on a hillside, way back behind the school, to watch a bluebird house. I was hoping I'd see a bluebird but none showed up. I was happy to be outside, sitting in the sun, and watching that little house.

Tomorrow: Optometry.

Thursday, 18 March 2021: Dental and More PT

Yesterday Kady and I drove to Buena Vista for dental appointments. We bypassed Lexington, still over the place, but did stop at the Burger King for a burger. We came back by highway 11 instead of struggling with the traffic on Interstate 81, always better move. I was worn out from the drive and went to bed early.

Today I had more physical therapy, my third session. Man! There were some painful moments when Dave found some tight muscles from lack of use since November. I didn't wince or complain. He showed no pity. Once he warmed these up, he moved my arm through its range of motion, pushing its current limitations. Recovery is going to take a lot of work.

The weather outside for the last 2 days has been crappy, so I haven't had a walk. I'm feeling it. I have cabin fever. The weekend and next week look good.

I'm already packing for the Kansas trip.

Monday , 15 March 2021: Physical Therapy 2

Tonight was my second session of physical therapy. My PT pulled, massaged, stretched, and worked my shoulder and arm for over thirty minutes. It felt great, no pain at all. When I got home, I iced it down to protect against swelling.

We had sleet tonight.

Saturday, 13th March 2021: A Good Walk

The weather this morning was warm enough that I could get outside for a walk, in shorts and a t-shirt, before lunch. It was almost 60-degrees outside and overcast, with no wind and nough Sun to be comfortable in shorts. The perfect conditions made me want to go for a long walk. My arm said, Don't even think about it. Still, I did 3.8 miles.

We went to Jay and KS's for dinner and games tonight.

Friday, 12 March 20-21: Getting Ready

Today, Kady and I took the Fusion down to the Ford place for an oil change, tire rotation, and a recall. We sat in the waiting area for a little over two hours. It took a while to change the door locking mechanisms. Once done, we went to Chick-fil-A for lunch. Their Mac-and-Cheese is my new favorite thing.

I like this Ford place; it is handier than the Ford Place in Lexington. I think that, when I can drive again, I will take Bess there for her 150000-mile maintenance.

Today was my first full day of home physical therapy. I was very faithful to it and did four full workouts as prescribed by my physical therapist. I think that I have fixed my Funny Bone problem by cutting a big hole in the back of my sling. Keeping pressure off of this area stops me from scrunching my shoulders, which causes a painful cramp between my shoulder blades.

Thursday, 11 February 2021: The Things I Can't Do

I had my first physical therapy appointment today. It went well, I learned a lot, and my therapist seems good at his job. I have another session on Monday. I will be doing at-home exercises until then.

Here are a few of the things that I have found a struggle since hurting my arm.

  • Buttoning my pants, buckling my belt

  • Shampooing my hair without putting gobs of shampoo on top of my head

  • Shaving without getting shaving cream all over my sling

  • Carrying more than one item on the stairs

  • Typing is a pain in the ass

I have learned to mitigate these problems.

  • I bought a loofah-back-brush which helps me reach those unreachable places.

  • I've taken to wearing nothing but running shorts so that I don't have to button pants or buckle a belt.

  • I bought two pump bottles to put my shampoo.

  • I borrowed a flour-sack cloth from Kady to cover my sling when I shave and trim my beard.

  • I have, once again, repurposed my handy-dandy Claymore Mine Bag for carrying things up and down the stairs.


All in all, these aggravations are nothing more than the normal healing process, which I find acceptable. I feel my arm getting better each day. I'm not rushing. I'm taking my time, being a good boy, and pacing myself.

Voice typing is a THING. You can do it in Windows Hands-Free Mode by hitting the "Windows Key" + h. Look for the Microphone at the top of your screen. The best way that I have found is Google Docs. Google Docs is more accurate and more responsive than Windows Hands-Free. Open a Google Docs document, go to the Tools menu, and select Voice Typing. You can even run Grammarly in a workspace, to the right of your document screen, to edit as you type.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Sunday, since I had a walk the day before, I didn't walk. I didn't want to push it. Instead, I napped and watched movies. Sometimes, I napped while I watched movies.

Monday, considering all the naps I had the day before,I slept until 0800, and felt rested and refreshed. I went for a two-mile walk after lunch, a favorite, peanut butter and jelly on toasted cinnamon-raisin bread. Try it; you'll see. Then, when Kady was ready, we drove to the Airport to photograph the big oak tree, the second largest white oak in Virginia. It's beautiful. I'll go back this summer and, with prior coordination, get up a little closer. Kady and I played a hand of 5-Crowns when we got home.

Tuesday, I slept-in until 0930. It was glorious. I went for a three-mile stroll around the neighborhood, in beautiful, seventy degree weather, also glorious. Kady cooked up steaks and potatoes for lunch and cut my steak up for me. What a girl! She's such a great chef and nurse. After dinner, we solved the case we've been working on. This case, Just4Fun boy-band murder, was not as fun as the last case. It contained too many hints, at least one big mistake, and the final conclusion was only a circumstantial guess, not proof. I'd give it a three out of ten.

Today, I got up about 0730, feeling great. Kady and I went to the Blue Ridge for a picnic lunch, after Roger played, of course. realizing that the parkway was still closed for winter, we picked up Jimmy Johns and drove to Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Greenwood to picnic and then photograph the big White Oak tree out front.

Saturday, 6 March 2021: A Little Relief

I had my post-op appointment Thursday. The nurse took off my sling, shirt, and bandage and the Doc checked my incisions and very gently rotated my arm. He seem pleased. He gave me referrals for physical therapy, a little advice, and sent me on my way.

Kady and I ate on the way home.

After getting to the house, first on my agenda was a shower and then a nap. Both were great. Since, I've spent short periods out of the sling, giving my pressure points a break. My biggest irritant is my funny bone. where it rests in the sling gives it a light feeling akin to the pain you get when you hit it just right. The other issue is the pad between the sling and my body which presses up against my ribcage. I hate this sling.

The kids came over for Vinny's. I had the spinach stuffed shells. It was pretty good. My cannoli was, however, Delicious! I always get one to celebrate dinner with the Sferrazza's on Long Island a few years back. Mama Sfrrazza, after feeding us an amazing dinner, treated us with a huge platter of all kinds of cannoli. I've been a fan, since.

After dinner, I coordinated Bess Care with Ann, who will crank her up once in a while when we're in Kansas. I also played I Spy with Em. She has her own rules. She sat for a few photos, helping me try out my new flash diffuser. She was adorable, running around to the back of my camera, after each shot, to see the photo.

Yesterday, I made my first PT appointment for the 15th. The place is right down the street.

I've figured out how to sleep. I put a big pillow behind my back and lay on my right side, my preferred side. The big pillow keeps me from rolling over on my back or left side. I slept most of the night, last night.

I took a nice stroll, today, down to the school and back. I didn't want to do too much or go too far. Today was a test to see how I'd feel afterwards.

Monday, 1 March 2021: A Bad Night

Isn't it a medical rule that your worst day after surgery is the third day? Must be. Last night was rough. I tossed and turned, couldn't get comfortable, moved to my recliner, back to the bed, propped with pillows, surfed the net, watched the highlights of Wales defeating England in rugby, and watched hot girl Reels on Instagram.

Nothing worked. I wasn't in pain; I was just uncomfortable in this sling. I was also worried about hurting my Rotator Cuff in the bed.

Finally, I gave up and turned on my computer. I went to YouTube and started Key West, again, and let it run in the background while I worked on my Lego T-Rex. I finished putting him together (back together) about 0100 and I was worn out enough to sleep. Kady helped me get situated, surrounding me with pillows so I couldn't rollover. I got some sleep, but only two hours at a time.

I figured it out during the day. Prop up on my office day bed, put my feet in my office chair and I'm comfortable. I've been cat-napping all day. I, also, got out of the sling a while today and took a sponge bath. I feel so much better.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

My surgery went smoothly. I got up early so I could do my pre-op shower routine, washing with a special soap, patting dry with fresh towels, dressing in comfortable freshly washed clothes, and my sketchy Sketchers, ugly, but easy to get on. No breakfast for me.

We arrived at the place by 1000, filled out a little paperwork, and then they took us back to prep, changed into a gown (very attractive), took my temperature, checked my blood pressure, covered me with warm blankets (my favorite part), started a drip, and scrubbed the shoulder area.

Next was the anesthesiologist, who gave me a shot in my neck, a nerve blocker, to help with the inevitable, after-surgery pain. My surgeon came in and had a quick look and marked my arm with information.

The whole while, Kady was supportive and taking photos. When they took me to the operating room, she moved back to the waiting room.

once I was on the operating table, they started me on oxygen, and then put me to sleep. It was fast. I woke up in the Recovery Room, already in my sling, feeling groggy and a little confused. My surgeon briefed Kady on how it went and gave her photos of the procedure and then walked her back to recovery when the nurse let him know I was awake.

Once I was a little more lucid, They took the drip out of my arm, helped me dress, and then took off my sling to help me put on my shirt. The sling went right back on.

Then, Kady went for the car while the nurse wheeled me outside in a chair. once in the car all I could think about was how hungry I was. Kady took us to Chick-fil-a and I got a sandwich and a large mac-and-cheese, my favorite, but a huge mistake. The cheese did not sit well, and I suffered through the night because of it. It was delicious though.

I finally got to sleep about 0300 this morning and slept in till 0730. I felt pretty good. Kim helped me begin icing, fifteen minutes every three hours, as soon as she got up. To keep us on track, I set up reminders on my Amazon Echo Dot. My shoulder, arm, and hand were still numb from the blocker. That started wearing off this afternoon and I could tell it was going to be painful, so, as they advised, I took my first pill at 1400 and the next at 2000. That shit is good!

All-day today, I've been working on a Photo Blog. I like the community and already follow some good photographers and have a few following me. No trolls yet.

Kady has been great all day today, getting me things, making me lunch, and keeping up with ice and meds. I'm going to try and do more for myself tomorrow so she won't get burned out.

Friday, 26 February 2021: Surgery

I'll write about this tomorrow when I'm more lucid. I had my surgery today and it went great.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021: Cardiac News

I'm waiting to hear back from the Cardio Doc, but I think the test went fine. The guy running the rtest ran me up to 160bpm and I stayed there for a while. The mask was a bother. They did an Echocardiograph of my heart before and after, then sat me up, and I was out the door a few minutes later. I'm guessing there was no problem that worried them or they would have kept me there longer.

Kady and I had Subway, the first in a while, after I got back to the house.

About 1800, my cardiologist called to let me know that I'm good to go and that the old injury is causing me no problems. He had a colleague review the echocardiogram, who said, to him, it looked normal. My surgery on Friday should go as scheduled with "little or no risk." I'll call the ortho desk tomorrow morning to make sure they get the news.

Oh! My COVID test came back negative.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021: Covid Test/Walk/Cardio Appointment

I had my COVID Test this morning and I do not see what all the fuss is about. From the way people have been complaining, I thought they were going to shove the swab into my sinuses. Not So. The nurse gently pushed the swab to the bop of my nasal cavity and rotated it. The amount of discomfort I felt was what I would call, extremely mild. People are such whiners. That done, I went for Bojangles biscuits for Kady and me. I had the ham. It's my fave.

My walk today was so enjoyable. It was warm and sunny out, but, still, I had to be careful. There were still some slippery spots in the sidewalks along my route.

The Cardiologist was great. He took the time to listen, took copious notes, talked me through what might have gone on, suggested a few things, and we settled on a stress test, tomorrow, to give everyone a warm and fuzzy that I'll be OK in surgery on Friday, and then, if that doesn't tell him what he wants to know, we'll look at other tests. I like this guy.

Saturday, 20 February 2021: Doin' Shit

I got up at 0500* today. I don't know why. I began building a cardboard pinhole camera from a kit Kady bought a few years back, decided not to build, and gave to me. I put it behind my dresses, out of sight and out of mind. I "found" it the day we had the carpet stretched, so I put it in my way so I would be reminded.

I opened the box; no instructions. I Googled the company; no instructions. I found a video. I had it together in about an hour but I'm not sure I want to chance a roll of film and developing cost in it. Its biggest issue is the shutter. Very Iffy.

My next task was clothes washing. That's a once-a-week thing since I hate folding clothes. Wash more often equals fewer clothes to fold at once. I have to wash just about everything Thursday so I sleep in fresh bedclothes and wear fresh clothes after showering before surgery. I'm guessing that I won't be doing any washing until after Pre-Op.

Next, I made a new graphic for the door of The War Room. Kady, tired of the paper sign stuck on the door, wants to put up a new, more stylish sign, probably framed. Though this is MY ROOM, I know she'll do a good job and make it look like "me." The walls sure look better since she helped me hang all of the things.

I watched the second episode of Clarice. I think CBS has a Winner.

Music Today: Good Country - Sons of the Desert, Drew Womack, John Moreland, Holly Williams and David Nail. There may have been some 38 Special.

* (I've started formatting time in the military manner again. Converting to Civilian Time has been too hard.)

Friday, 19 February 2021: Coordination is a Continuous Process

There has been a flurry of phone calls, back and forth, between medical providers and me, beginning this morning. I won't bore you with the details, but I now have two appointments on Tuesday, a Covid Test and then a Cardiology Appointment. Hopefully, both will set me up for surgery on Friday.

Tonight was game night at Jay-and-KS's house, Boats and Hos*, my choice. Never play Jay. He wins every time. We had Jimmy John's for supper and I had the new Smokin' Kickin' Chicken. I was not impressed.

Tomorrow, I begin my pre-surgery quarantine.

*Boats and Hos is a family colloquialism for Ticket to Ride Rail and Sails.

Thursday, 18 February 2021: Perseverance Landing

We didn't get snow, we got ice, about a half-inch of it. It's was so cold that our little lake is almost completely frozen over. Then iced again in the afternoon and continued through the night. No problem. I wasn't going anywhere, it was Perseverance Landing Day on Mars. I hoped you watched it.

Kady and I curled up on the day bed in the War Room so we could watch the "clean feed" from Mission Control and the NASA TV feed simultaneously. That was the way to do it.

Pretty exciting stuff and it went off without a hitch. AMERICA! I hope the Chinese and the UAE got some good photos from their orbiters. This is how it's done y'all. Good luck to the Chinese mission, Tianwen-1, landing their first rover in May.

Still no word on a cardiologist appointment.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021: Pre-Op

I got up early so I wouldn't have to rush to my Pre-Op appointment with my NP, this morning, at 8 am. That was high adventure. My EKG, once again, was Abby something . . . Abby-normal. This has been a problem before, because of my narrow chest and a big, strong heart, which is canted on its axis. At Bragg, they knew to adjust my electrodes to get a correct reading, but these guys didn't. So, now I have to go see a cardiologist, who will look at the problem, tell me what's going on, and approve my shoulder surgery, or not.

Hit Pause, wait for the phone call, hold all plans.

We're supposed to get more snow tonight.

Monday, 15 February 2021: The Next Four Months.

I saw my Orthopedic Surgeon today. He gave me three choices. I could treat my injury with ice and steroids and live with limited mobility, have arthroscopic surgery with a long rehabilitation and almost full recovery, or shoulder replacement removing the need for a rotator cuff, but with a greater chance of infection. I chose Number Two.

  • Wednesday, I have a Pre-Op Exam.

  • Friday I go into Quarantine.

  • Next Tuesday I have a COVID Exam.

  • Friday, 26 February, is my Surgery. It'll be "out-patient," lasting about two hours. Kady can go with me.

  • Thursday, 4 March, is my Post-Op Appointment. I think I see a therapist after that, for a period of instruction on dressing, bathing, and dos-and-don'ts.

  • I'll be in a sling for six weeks, no movement, then six weeks of Rage of Motion physical therapy, and then six more weeks of strengthening physical therapy. There'll be no driving for at least three months.

This sling is crazy. They gave it to me today, along with all of the instructions for successful surgery and recovery, and it is what can only be described as "The Cadillac of Slings." I imagine that, though I'm amazed by it right now, I will come to despise it.

After Post-op, Kady and I plan on leaving for Kansas, quarantining with E and A, getting ready for the birth of Savannah, and preparing for their move East. I'm going to be useless, but I have to go where my caregiver goes. (0: I'll do Physical/Occupational Therapy in Kansas until we return. I don't know if I'll be able to walk Cooper, but at least I can get the Cooper Love.

Yesterday, Kady and I celebrated Valentine's day by playing 5-Crowns, solving two sections of our Hunt-a-Killer mystery, and ordering pizza. Very Romantic! Today, after my appointment, we did much the same but ordered in Chipotle. Grub Hub. It's awesome!

I'm re-watching Foyle's War on Amazon. Love it! I needed something to replace The Expanse in my life until Season 6.

Sunday, 7 February 2021: Family-Time

Yesterday KS's family and ours converged on Jay and Ks's house for a party for Em

Today is a get-together, over there, again, for the Super Bowl and Australian Open.

This morning, I have spent working on my Alexa problem. There's some issue with my Google Account where I can't sign in with Amazon, nor can I unlink my account. I decided, after two years, to ditch the sgmjohnlneel account and go with my new account, john.lee.neel. I still have a small issue, but now I can listen to music, see my contacts, read my e-mail, and reference my calendar.

Kady made the night delicious by cooking up her world-famous Chicken Enchiladas. Jay and I played three games of Chess. He won all three times. The game was, inconceivably, a blow-out. Never bet against Tom Brady. 31 - 9. Whew! The best commercial of the night was the Boss/Jeep Commercial.

Friday, 5 February 2021: Play Date 001

Last night, Katy and I went over to Jay and KS's house for dinner. We had Chinese, which is always a favorite. I amazed myself by eating only a small plate. I used the time to organize a play-date with Em for today.

Kady and I picked her up at 11 am, swung by McDonald's for food, ate at the house, and then Em and I went up to my office for Science Time. I had made her an interactive slide presentation of the Solar System to travel to all of the planets together. She had lots of questions. I was amazed.

Next, we went to the park for about an hour, soaking up the Vitamin-D and oxygen, swinging, and climbing all the things. Not me. I'm grounded.

We went back to the house for a card game and played until her mom called, stranded on the interstate and needing my help. By the time we scooped up Em, bought a gas can, and filled it with gasoline, KS called to say the V-DOT truck had stopped and given her two gallons of gas.

We dropped Em off at their house and went back home. Play-dates are rough on granddaddies, so I took a nap. Kady went shopping.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021: Jury, Have you reached a verdict?

> My MRI results came back. It looks like my shoulder is super messed-up, putting it nicely. I'm betting mister doctor man will want to do surgery but, there is little time in our plans to get that done. I have to be in Kansas to see my granddaughter's birth by mid-April.

Oh well, no use fretting about it until I see my Orthopedic guy in two weeks.

Kady and SS texted me to let me know that she fell on the ice today, but is OK, just a little bruised. She's coming home tomorrow.

I just watched a movie called Pathfinder, Vikings vs. Native Americans. It was pretty good. Don't hate.

I spent the afternoon researching my injury, looking at photos, drawing, and reading blogs by doctors. Then I began over-thinking, trying to plan for every contingency, and unable to see how I could ever fit it all in. I decided I needed a nap. Naps are wonderful. I awoke, clear-headed and relaxed, knowing I couldn't do a damn thing for two weeks.

Monday, 1 February 2021: Just Another MRI, No Big Deal

My shoulder MRI was this afternoon. Before I could go I had to clear the snow off of Bess, which was simple, but cold. I did that this morning so the sun could dry the cover before putting it in the trunk.

The imaging place was just up the road, a five-minute drive. I was in-and-out in about forty minutes. Now, I have to wait two weeks to see the Orthopedic guy.

Sunday, 30 January 2021: The Brief Return of Mr. Alvarez

We got snow today, about six inches of it. It is pretty. Blah, blah, blah. I hope it is gone by tomorrow afternoon so I don't have to shovel to go to my MRI appointment.

I've been staring at my guitar, called Mr. Alvarez, since getting home in December. It didn't look like something I could do with my injury. Kim being away, me being snowed-in and a bit bored, I picked it up today. Tuning it was a little painful, but trying to play it killed me. I stopped. Just playing a few cords was enough to remind me how I have missed playing and, getting back to it will be a motivating factor once I begin physical therapy.

I watched The Little Things with Denzel Washington on HBO today. I wonder how many people have signed up to see it. It was a great cop mystery. I love cop movies when the lead cop is brilliant but damaged, which is why I liked Jesse Stone and Longmier, Bullitt and Dirty Harry.

Friday, 29 January 2021: Batchin' It

Kady left for Tennessee today, going to visit SS for a few days. I'm staying here, traveled out, and probably not invited anyway. She'll bring back my firearms, stored with SS while we were in Kansas.

While texting with my mate, Alan, the other night, we made plans to link up on FB Messenger today, 2 PM, for a video chat. I haven't seen him since 1 Para visited Bragg in 1992 or 1993. He was one of my three Corporals when I joined 538 Platoon, where I trained while I awaited 1 Para to return from Northern Ireland. Alan followed me to 1 Para when the UK Army promoted him to Sergeant. He and his wife Amanda lived right behind us in Church Crookham where we all became fast friends.

When he came to Bragg, I drove drove him to Alabama, where he met our families. I think he got in a bit of trouble for that trip but got to see Real America. We've stayed in touch since.

He still calls me The Colonial.

While Kady leaving and I was chatting with Alan, we had a workman fix the kitchen sink, which had begun to drop. I propped it up with a jack until he could get here, but that wasn't the best solution; it worked like a charm. When he finished, he used the jack to prop it in place while the adhesive and sealant dried. I guess the jack wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Thursday, 28 January 2021: Orthopedics

So. I woke up this morning at 4 AM. There was snow on the car. I fixed my breakfast, read the news, drank my coffee, set my alarm for 9 AM, and got back in bed.

I got to the doctor's office in plenty of time, filled out the requisite forms, had some x-rays, and then the Doc came in. he moved my arm around a bit, had me squeeze his fingers, did a couple of resistance tests, and then said, "We need to do an MRI. Until then, do this and that, but don't do this or that."

This cat is my kind of doctor, straight to the point, no flowery prose or promises, just good pragmatic medicine.

Two more weeks of waiting.

I came home and slept all afternoon.

I'm pretty sure Season 5 of The Expanse will be known as the "weak season." I get it. They have a lot to set up, but it's going so slowly. It's a bit like watching a soap opera where it takes the characters six episodes to accomplish anything. Marco and his son are a perfect example of the Lifetime Movie feel the show has taken on, fighting and making-up in every episode. Still, it is the best show going.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021: Getting Healthy

It's time to get moving. I'm starting my next phase of Intermittent Fasting TODAY! There, I said it. Eating all the food during Christmas and goofing-off was fun, but I want to keep losing weight and get stronger.

I have an appointment with an orthopedic specialist tomorrow. I'm looking forward to that. My shoulder is strong but I can't lift my arm straight up. I'm doing curls, triceps curls, chest flies, rows, paddler's rows, and lateral pull-downs like a champ, no pain, but I can't do an overhead press. We're pretty sure I have a torn Rotator Cuff. Hopefully, this guy will help.

Today, the weather is supposed to be nice and the temperature is supposed to be in the 40s by 11 o'clock. It's long-walk-time.

I'm so tired of the news. With all the things that need reporting, they are still fixating on the T-word. The Impeachment proceedings keeps his name in the news and further divides the nation. Yeah, I want him forever out of politics, but maybe there is another way. I'm so tired of his name.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, 25 January 2021: Cold Weather

It has been cold for the past four days, down in the 20s at night, barely in the 40s during the day. I know this isn't very cold as cold goes, but it's in that range where I don't want to go outside for my walks. Well, I had to get out this morning. Cabin Fever!

I put on fleece lined khakis, my hiking boots over wool socks, a moisture-wicking long-sleeved T, a fleece top, my Redhead watch cap, and my big Columbia parka. Layers! I know how this is done. I learned in Canada . . . New York . . .Wisconsin.

No. I'm not comparing this to Canada, though my bad attitude toward the cold there is much the same here. My Military Records Jacket read, "Keep Warm and Dry until Needed!"

For once, I got it exactly right. The temperature was 34 degrees when I left the house, the sky was completely overcast, and there was only a slight wind. I was comfortable. I took the trail behind the church that follows a creek from Highway-29 down to Hollymead Lake. I'm glad I went that way because it was a good bird watching day there. I saw two Blue Herrons, a Kingfisher, two pair of Mallards, and a pair of Hooded Mergansers. I didn't take my camera. Smart Phone Time.

50-something days till Spring.

Saturday, 23 January 2021: A Dream in Kodachrome

I awoke this morning and began looking for a photograph.

In 1989, I went with A Company, 1-Para, to Cyprus. It was a great trip. We trained hard, but had most nights and weekends off duty. The last week we did adventure training. I spent my time touring the ruins of Kurion, taking sailing classes and sailing to Pissouri, and clubbing with my mates, Steve and Rand, guys with whom I had been in the Depot. What time I had to myself, I went through the tunnel to Episkopi Beach.

On the trip with us was an young lady, a journalist, writing a book on the Paras. Claire was one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, jet-black hair, dark almond eyes, and dark brown skin. As I remember, her parents were Pakistani. A 2-Para officer had smartly proposed to her and they were to be married when she returned from this trip.

She, quickly, became part of my circle of friends, I think because we were all married and weren't hitting on her. We liked her immediately because she never assumed, always asked, and always pitched-in. She spent much of her time interviewing us for the book and hanging out with us. She went with us to the ruins, riding around on the Unsafely Boat, and to play on Kurion Beach. When we talked, she rarely asked me about training or the Regiment. Mostly we talked about interests and travels. She had many questions about the USA. We talked a lot about Calvin and Hobbs and Bloom County.

On her last day on the island, A Company threw her a party. I skipped it; I didn't want to say goodbye. I preferred to remember the last happy conversations and did not want to share my last memory of her with a bunch of paratroopers.

I went to the beach.

Before she left, she came looking for me at Episkopi and as she walked toward me, I took my last photo of her.

We talked for a long time, looking out over the Mediterranean and listening to the waves crash the rocky beach. All I really remember is the wind blowing her hair and that I still refused to say goodbye. Then she left. I never saw her again. Such are the friendships you make in the Military.

I bought her book. I see the four of us in a small paragraph in the Preface, "As it was, once I had been accepted and was a familiar face, some men confided things in me they perhaps would not have shared with another man." But then, it was probably like that for her with every unit with which she walked and trained.

This should probably be a story.

This is the photo I dreamed of and had to find this morning. It was a strange dream. I didn't dream of Claire, the group, or Cyprus. I dreamed of the photograph. Love you, Kodachrome.

Friday, 22 January 2021: A Real Coffee Date

Though my virtual coffee dates have been going well, it was nice, this morning, to have an actual in-person coffee date with my Daughter-in-law, KS. She was away on business on my Birthday, so, to make up for missing my get-together, she picked up coffee at the Daily Grind and brought it over to the house. It was so much better.

Once this COVID shit is over, I'm going to drive all over to have coffee with my people. I need to get to New York (or a point in between), Atlanta, Richmond, Lynchburg, and NOVA. Coffee and then a Battlefield is my plan.

Thursday, 21 January 2021: Talking it Out with E

E called this morning and we had a good chat about the Inauguration and the next steps.

Dads should always talk to their daughters.

We talked about all of the great things we saw during the day and then began to talk about the tough days ahead. She agreed with me, but said, and I'm paraphrasing here, Maybe, President Biden's most important legacy will be showing us all how to act toward each other.

Fathers should always LISTEN to their daughters.

Joe may not be able to accomplish everything that needs to be done, but he can try, and he can lead, and he can show us all that we can get together to accomplish great things. He can be a father to the nation. He's certainly old enough. (o:

I feel better. All dads should have a daughter.

I took Kady's car to the car wash today and for my reward, she made me a burger. Yum. After lunch, I set up a face-to-face coffee with KS for tomorrow morning, and wrote Rebecca about my negative anti-body test and the need to hunker down again keeping my circle small.

The funniest thing going on in the nation today are the Bernie Sanders Mitten Memes and Comments.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021: Hello, Goodbye

Half the country just breathed a deep sigh of relief. The other half is just waiting for the other shoe to fall. Our new president is saying all of the right things in my book. He says he will be a president for all Americans. He wants to bring us all together.

The hopeful me, looks forward to better times under his administration and wishes him good luck and all the best.

The pragmatic me says we're too far apart. I see to many hot button, immovable issues: free choice vs. right to life, anti-gun vs. Second Amendment Rights, cheap gas vs. no pipeline, free speech vs. political correctness, closed vs. open borders . . .

There may be too many things that need fixing.

Yeah, I wish him luck.

The Apprehensive me hopes he brings in all the players on certain issues, has a complete discussion, and then acts on a favorable middle-ground solution.

I almost felt sorry for Trump this morning. Almost, but not quite. What a way to end your presidency! He has no one to blame but himself. Had be been smart, he might have gone down as one of our greatest presidents. Some of the things he did were amazing, but he just couldn't communicate them to the American people and he just couldn't keep his stupid mouth shut.

Nowhere was his stupidity more on display than on Social Media. Get Off Twitter, Boomer. Shit! I don't even play around with Twitter, I'm pretty savvy for an old white guy.

So, where are we headed? I have no clue, so, I just wait and see.

I watched the Ceremony. I went for a long walk and then turned it on at 11:30, as it was starting. I thought it was going to start at 12:30. My favorite parts were Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem and Amanda Gorman reading her poem. They stole the show.

Gaga has my permission to sing the anthem anytime she wants.

Tuesday, 19 January, 2021: Lookin' for Love

Kady and I went on a quick drive out in the country, looking for our first two "Love Signs." Since Virginia is for Lovers, these are all over the place and one of the things to do here in the Old Dominion is to try and see them all.

This one is out past Standardsville, next to a little country store, just off Highway 33 West.

Saturday, 16 January 2021: Mind Walk

Across from my Townhome, there is a small pond. It isn't as large as the other lakes in the neighborhood, but we get a few geese and ducks. I've also seen people fishing there, though I have never seen anyone catch a fish.

Along the west side is the dam and, at the very north tip of the dam is a trail that winds out into the woods along the creek. The wooded area is large enough that you feel as if you are in a much larger forest. It is quiet out there, a safe place for wildlife and a place where I can get away from everything.

I never see anyone else out there.

I usually take a stroll back there once a week or so, on days when I don't want to walk very far, or on days when I'm bored, or on days when the weather is cold

Today was one of those days. Saturday is my day off from exercise, the weather was overcast and cold, but I was dying to get out of the house. I picked up my camera and tripod, put on my hiking boots, a fleece-lined jacket, and headed out.

On this trip, I walked up the hill behind the bamboo, to the fence outlining a private tract of land, to the top, where I had seen an old 1947 Ford dump-truck. I took a few more photos of it and an old piece of farm equipment.

It was beautiful out there today. The Beech trees are amazing this time of year. Their leaves shimmer in the wind and shine like gold in the sunlight. To me, they look like the Jewels of Helen.

Looking for color this time of year is challenging, as there is so little other than different shades of browns and the greens of moss and ferns, but today a fungus on a log across my path caught my eye. It was beautiful, shaped like seashells, striped in layers as it grew. Back at the house, I identified it as Coriolus Hirsutus, I think. What do I know about fungi?

My walk reminded me of the woods of Wahouma where I played and daydreamed as a young lad. Today, I was that young boy again.

Only four more days of Trump.

Thursday, 14 January 2021: The Unwelcome Present

I went to my nurse practitioner today to see about my Arm. While we were at it we did my yearly assessment and drew blood for , among other things, an COVID Anti-body Test.

As for my arm, Lindsay said it was most likely a torn rotator cuff and is sending me to a specialist.


Eddie called to wish me a happy birthday while I was at the Doctors. Love that guy.

Jay and the Grands came over for my Birthday and supper. Kady made my favorite, Cornbread Chicken Stuff, and got me a cake, white-on-white, also a favorite. So, I guess I'm starting my Intermittent Fasting again, in earnest, TOMORROW.

Sixty-eight! I don't feel sixty-eight.

Only Six more days of Trump.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021: Hump Day

Yesterday and today, I have had entirely too much to do.

For a year, I've had a hump in my office carpet. I'm pretty sure I caused the issue by rolling around in my office Chair. It didn't matter to me, but Kady was all about getting it repaired, so she called a carpet guy to come fix it. He told her to move all of the furniture to one side of the room.

Ha, ha, ha, Hahahahaha. This was no easy task. I began working Tuesday morning and had it all moved except the day bed and my chair. The odds and ends went in the Guest Room.

He and his helper attacked the hump Wednesday afternoon and had it all done in about an hour. It looks amazing.

Then, of course, I had to put everything back in its place, cleaning as I went. It took me about three hours. The last thing I did was put the new heavy duty chair pad on the floor and roll my chair back in the room.

Mission Complete. Bed Time.

Monday, 11 January 2021: The National Championship

Kady and I got our Shingles Vaccine today. We have to get a second shot in two to four months. I took the opportunity to get some Mint Oreos. They're a Thing and a nice reward for being a big boy and getting my shots.

The National Championship Game played out like no one expected tonight. After watching Ohio State whip Clemson, I believe we all thought State had a chance. I'm a bit sorry it had to end for them so badly, though it fits my SEC narrative well. It was an ass-whipping. You could say that seven of their minuscule 24 points were given to them by Bama with that fumble, which was about the only mistake, not counting the Targeting hit, of the night for the Tide. That would make the final score 52 - 17.

Ah, hell, let them have the extra seven.

Only Nine More Days of Trump in the White House.

Can we use the 25th amendment? Doubtful.

Should we Impeach? Probably should not; it will only further divide the nation.

I think we need to, somehow, keep this guy out of politics for all time. We need to work past these last four years and took to the future, especially Republicans. We can't do that if this guy keeps rearing his ugly head. Once he's gone, maybe the Democrats will be able to concentrate on other things. Without him to talk about, perhaps the Fourth Estate will be able to begin reporting the news, accurately, again. Maybe, if a new, trustworthy, intelligent, and decent Republican leader arises, the GOP will be able to get back to our roots and shun the extreme Trumpian views of these years.

There is a simple solution: He should resign and go back to his business. Maybe he could do another "Reality" show. If he doesn't, he'll still be gone by next Wednesday.

Democratic Party control of the White House, The Senate, and The House of Representatives makes me apprehensive. Yes, they may be able to do some good things, but they may also begin to erode some of our rights for their perception of the "Greater Good." I'm most concerned about Our Second Amendment Rights. For a perfect example, listen to No Special Duty on Radiolab. You can also read my Neel-Think on Guns and America.

Yesterday, I repaired the battery lock-down post on Bess. Again, repairing anything on Bess is never easy, but once done, my battery is more secure than it was. I went for a drive and then emptied the trunk. I am going t NOVA to see Rebecca this Sunday for lunch, so I had to get this done. It'll be good to see her. Yes, I will be taking my Camera for those long-talked-about photos.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Today was pretty relaxed. I did a few things for Kady while she went for a walk. Saturday is my day off from all exercise. Jay and KS came over for dinner, football, and games. We tried playing the new Azul, which defeated my poor brain, so we played Dirty Sevens, a card game. I had my best showing ever. I was thinking about ten steps ahead, won three of the four hands, and won the game holding only five points.

It was a good time.

Friday, 8 January 2021: 6 January and Beyond

Ain't This Some Stupid Shit?

My first inclination was to be really pissed off. What the hell were these guys thinking? And, by "these guys" I mean everybody - The President, the Republicans, the Democrats, the Mayor, the Capitol Police, the Demonstrators, the Rioters, the Pipe-bomber, The Media . . .

Do I need to keep going?

When the election results finally pointed at Biden, I was relieved. Not only did I want Trump out, but I was afraid that, if he won, the country would burn. I was afraid that the By Any Means Necessary crowd would start a war.

I actually thought better of my fellow Republicans. "No," I said, "if Biden wins, we'll show them how to lose gracefully and get on with the business of the Nation."

How naive was I?

Hold My Beer! Mob Rule!

Well, now I know; We're ALL idiots.

I guess now we'll get to see Republican. crying at the Inauguration. They'll fight him on every issue, no matter what the issue. meanwhile, the Democrats will still be focused on Trump, wanting him impeached or arrested. They'll demand the resignations of any senator or congressman who supported Trump. Meanwhile, the country's divide will fester and grow, and the nation will decline further chaos.

The smooth transition of power has always been one of the great strengths of our political system. We've lost that and, with it, our identity as One Nation, Indivisible.

So, what did I do? I turned on some Native American flute music, turned out the lights, and thought about nothing for a long while. As my friend Vicki says, I "paused."

Refreshed, I began thinking about solutions. I considered a Trump resignation, Republicans moving away from Trumpian Influence, a third political party for the rest of us, things on which President Biden should focus and avoid . . .

But, who am I? I'm just a tired old Southern white man, a Boomer, who still believes in America and the Constitution. My voice doesn't count anymore.

I paused again.

I believe we'll figure this out, I hope without bloodshed. Bringing America back together, back to center, back to compromise is going to take work. But, it's not my work to do.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021: Banner Day

I began this day with my Mediterranean breakfast and finding out that Tanya Roberts was not dead after all. An hour later, she had passed away. Sad. She was way too young.

In my dreams last night, I couldn't find my M-16 and couldn't remember my serial number. I woke in a writing mood and wrote two more snippets, one about almost losing my M-16, and the other was about my biggest failure as a scout. It must have been therapeutic. I've been in the best mood all day.

Kady and I went for a good walk around the lake this afternoon. She wanted to do three laps. I love it when she does these challenges on her phone app; it motivates her, and I love the time with her. We've started playing cards again and doing our murder mystery case files. This one isn't as fun.

To top off a great day, I had a message from Sevda on Instagram, with a little photo of the Konak Clock Tower (Konak Saat Kulesi) saying, "Let's Go!" That began an afternoon exchange about me coming back one day after COVID and about her upcoming trip to Izmir and a plan to Skype while she is in Alsancak. Yes Please!

She also sent a photo, which I think was for motivation to get moving on a trip "home." If I could photograph her one more time, to make up for all of the stupid camera mistakes I made in 2001, that would be reason enough to go. Then, there is the food. And Troy. And all my friends. And so many other things I want to see.

Then, for whatever reason, it was time for 38 Special. Yesterday, I changed the registration on my Amazon Dot and wiring it to my Edifier Speakers. I'm still having issues with it calling me Kim and repeating notifications. Because Kady uses "Good Morning" for a routine, I had to choose something different for my wake-up and go-to-bed routines. It took me a while, but I finally decided on "Stand-To" and Stand-Down." Brilliant!

KS and I had our first 2021 walk yesterday. After, Em and I took a walk around the block. She talked the whole way.

I have two plans in the works for those guys: I want to bring Em over to watch something educational with me and then have some playground time with her once a week. I mentioned it to KS. She said, "fine." Then I talked to Em about it. She asked, "Can we have pizza?" She's a girl after my own heart.

Next, Jay and I are going to build a server. I have all of the components collected. Now all I have to do is find time with a very busy son. I hope to get Jk involved as well. If I can't, I have to find a connection with the lad. He loves video games, but I'm a motor-moron in this area. Maybe Battlefields, Clay Targets, or Photography. Damn, he's grown a foot since summer.

Friday, 1 January 2020: Happy New Year

I certainly hope this is a better year for the lot of us. I'm looking forward to the birth of our next grandchild, getting all my people closer to Virginia, and getting out to battlefields a lot more. In early spring I want to take Bess down the Outer Banks, all the way to Fort Fisher, NC and I want to photograph the Wild Horses in Currituck.

We'll be in Kansas again from April until July, for Savannah's birth and to help the kids move, wherever the Army sends them. We're hoping for Maryland, but It could be Illinois or anywhere, really. The Army! It's not just a job, it's an adventure.

Yesterday, Kady and I watched a couple of bobo games, highlighted only by the fight at the end of the Mississippi State and Tulsa game. Then we watched the Twilight Zone Marathon until I couldn't take it any more and went to bed. We tried to watch the New Year's show on one network, but turned it off because of the overly-gay Gay guy acting as host. The same thing happened while I tried to watch John Wick on TNT. Who watches John Wick and wants to see an ad about a bunch of cross-dressers, over and over and over, about every 15 minutes. Not this boy.

I woke up at 1:30 AM and Kady was still awake, watching Perry Mason. The girl is a vampire.

We began our New Year huddled in the house. The weather outside was frightful.

Auburn's bowl game was a bust. Why we played a bowl game this year is beyond me. We had a broken season, we just fired our coach, we knew a bunch of our players would opt-out, and we were matched with a very good Northwestern team. We should have just called the year quits and started looking toward next year. It was sad to watch.

I guess Auburn needs all the money it can get these days.

If there was any question about Notre Dame being one of the top four teams in the nation, I believe Alabama answered that in the "Still-the-Rose-Bowl." They were embarrassed.

In the second game, Clemson vs. Ohio State, I found myself cheering for Ohio State, for the first time ever. If there is a team to beat Alabama this year, it's Ohio State. That whole team is amazing. Hint for Bama: Whatever you do, don't try to hurt Justin Fields; you'll just piss him off. Clemson, on the other hand, paid the price for playing ACC teams all year. Faced with a big, tough, talented team like Ohio State, they were unready.

Clemson and Notre Dame - Exposed? Naw. I'd say they were Number Three and Number Four. I might put Northwestern at Number Four instead of ND.