2022 Journal

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Friday, 30 December 2022: West Virginia

Kady and I are driving to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, this morning , to link up with the family for a New Year Cabin Weekend.  There will be lo Internet or Cell Service (How Will I Live?!) so I'll write about it in the new year.  See 2023.

Thursday, 29 December 2022: Kosovo

I went back to Twitter today, just long enough to follow the Kosovo situation.  I think, after reading, that I can safely say, "It's the same shit, just a different day.  Nothing has changed over there, nor is it likely to.  I will not elaborate, except to quote a British officer who led our train-up for KFOR-4, "They're all Bastards!"  The Serb and Albanian Kosovars will NEVER get along.

I wonder, what happened to Lynda?  She was a sweet kid.

I tried Mastodon for a day and decided it wasn't for me.  I shut it down.  Yawn!

I'm packing for our New Year trip to West Virginia.  It should be a lot of family fun.

The Reason for My Season

Sunday, 25 December 2022: On the Road for Christmas

What happened to "Going to Grandma's House for Christmas?"

Christmas Eve was spent at Jay's for brunch.  Matt and Monise were there.

Christmas, we drove to Frederick.  Traffic was light, but I tried Waze driving up and it took us THROUGH Warrington and Leesburg, rather than straight up Highway 15.  Though pretty, going through both towns added about 30 minutes to our trip.  When it suggested another detour that would have added another 15 minutes, we switched to Maps.  If I ever use Waze again, It will be for notifications only . . . not for navigation.

SGM was a wake when we got there and in rare form.  Like always, It took her a bit to warm up to me.  That little face!  Al, Barb, and Krista were there.

E made a bunch of amazing cinnamon rolls and I made myself a coffee.  That was breakfast.

When SGM went down for her nap, we all played cards . . . Wizards, at which I still suck.

Lunch was ribeye roast, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  Kady brought some delicious Baklava for dessert.

The drive back was more crowded, but faster with Google Maps.  We were home right after dark.

It was so nice and quiet in the house.

Friday, 23 November 2022: Twits on the Web

I like Elon; he's a genius.

I tried Twitter a few years ago but rejected it outright.  I've gone back to get real-time updates during special news events - I-95 snowbound traffic, Turkish earthquakes, Florida hurricanes, Russian invasions, and so on.

When Elon bought Twitter, I went back, found my old profile, popped some popcorn, and watched.  To give it some legitimacy in my world, I began following SpaceX, NASA, Auburn  Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Softball, James Webb and Hubble, and a few others.  I had to follow Elon to keep up with his fun.

Oh, Holy Cow!  What a Shit-show!  If ever there was a perfect example of the evils of a pure democracy, this is it.  I get where Elon wants to go with it, but in firing the old Twitter staff, he has left the pool without a lifeguard and the city without a police force.

Chaos Reigns

Mob Mentality has taken hold.  The Idiots are in Charge.  The Inmates are running the Asylum.

He may never get it back under control.  He would have done better to start his own version of Twitter, from scratch, with a governing body, a police force, and laws already in place.  Certainly, he could do better than Truth Social.

I'm gonna go, for now.  I'll be back when something big happens . . . or AU Football picks back up in the Fall.

I know that I won't be missed (zero tweets/zero followers) like I won't miss the *Twits.

*Twit - A silly annoying person: Fool. ~ Merriam-Webster

It's going into the Zero Digits today.  It is damn cold out there and I'm happy I have nothing to do.

Thursday, 22 December 2022: No!

It is cold and rainy out . . . and probably SLIPPERY!  I saw a large group of ducks on Holly Mead lake yesterday and thought I'd take my camera down there today.  No Way!  Maybe they will still be there tomorrow.  When it's warmer.  When it isn't rainy.  When there is less chance of me falling.  Again.

Jack Ryan Season 3 dropped yesterday.

Wednesday, 21 December 2022: Uniform Downsizing

Today, I cleaned out the attic, beginning with my uniforms.  When I retired, I got kept my dress uniforms, and one set of all my fatigues.  It was a pile that filled a large plastic storage tub.  I guess I thought one day I'd stock a museum or something.  It was a pretty good historical representation of uniforms from 1976 - 2018.  I took most of these items to Goodwill, including Dress Blue Pants, white shirts, two sets of BDUs, my low quarters, an unworn pair of jungle boots, two sets of ACUs, and my blue service cover.

I kept my Para Smock, sweater, and face veil, and two Para sweatshirts.  I kept a set of OCPs, my Mess Dress jacket and pants, My Dress Blue jacket and pants, and my OG107 fatigues.  I also kept two OG107 shirts that I wore in Grenada.

I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Kady is almost finished with her guestroom.  It's really looking sharp.

Tuesday, 20 December 2022: Reading vs. Reading-At

I'm usually reading a number of books at the same time.   I read slowly, hoping to get exactly what the author is trying to say, and, by default, I retain everything I read.  BUT . . . I get impatient.  As I'm reading a book, another will catch my eye,  be recommended to me, or grab my interest.  My current reading list is a current example.

I'm "Reading" Starry Messenger by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  Reading means I'm investing more to and effort to finish it.  It's amazing and I highly recommend it to everyone on the damn planet.

I'm "Reading-At" a number of books -

George RR Martin's Fire and Blood, for obvious reasons.  I love me some GoT and need a daily dose of Dragons.

John Steinbeck's East of Eden.  Kim found it in our library while we were shuffling books between bookcases and rooms.  I've never read it.  What?!

The South was Right by two brothers named Kennedy.  Too bad this book isn't required reading in the USA.  It's pretty well written, though poorly edited (lots of repeated commentary, but, damn, I might as well have written it.

Sapiens by Yoval Noah Hearari, recommended by Jay.  It looks, so far, like a modern explanation of the state of man and how we got here.  I expect Wokeness to abound but will keep an open mind.

These, I pick up as the mood hits me, about once a week.

Under the heading Kady Can Cook, I have to share this -

She made Chili the other day.  Kady's Chili is the best chili I've ever eaten, but this time, finding she had no chili seasoning, she "winged it."  It was amazing . . . different, but amazing.  I tried to get her to tell me what she put in it.  "You know; a little of this and a little of that."  She's frustrating.  Well, I've been eating it for the last three days.  Today, I baked a potato, added sour cream and pepper jack, and then poured the Chili on top.  Damn it was good.

Monday, 19 December 2022: Doing Important Stuff

I have been experimenting, trying to perfect my Holiday Moca.  Today, I think I hit the mark.  I'm calling it John's 505 Holiday Moca.  Put one Brach's Star Brites Peppermint and  One Packet of Swiss Miss "no sugar added" Hot Cocoa Mix in a large mug.  Add 10oz of steaming hot Lavazza Perfecto.  Stir rapidly.  Serve with Nonni's Salted Caramel Biscotti.

Yellowstone and 1923 were a lot of fun.  Yellowstone seems a little stuck in its own tale, unable to find a new direction or a different storyline.  I'm also a little tired of their shameless promotions of sponsors and singers . . . no, Walker can't sing for shit, even if Rip tells you he can, and his songs "tear and strain to rhyme."  These latest two, Lanie Wilson and Zach Bryan, are mediocre at best.  Ah, but I'm faithful and willing to stick with it, no matter how implausible. Hell, my fave show has dragons!

Currently, Netflix's Wednesday is my favorite show.

Looks like we could get snow Friday.

Blueberry Hill Farm Views

Week, 12 - 16 December 2022: Back in Old Tennessee

Monday, Kady and I drove to Tennessee to visit SS, take some things to storage, and to pick up a carload of beef.  The traffic was light and we made good time down I-81.  We ate at Mi Casa, a basic Mexican place in the town.  I got a steak which was pretty good.

Tuesday, we took the things to storage and then hit Bakery Delight for cookies.  Their sugar cookies and ginger cookies are amazing. We had Hotdogs for clinch which SS cooked over a wood fire.  I believe you must forget how good dogs cooked over an open fire taste.

I went looking for Bulls Gap Battlefield but missed it and got in trouble with the locals for turning around in a parking lot marked No Trespassing.  I didn't think it was a big deal but it seems it was.  I drove back to Bulls Gap, but still couldn't find the battlefield, so I took photos of the little town and visited the Rail Museum.

Wednesday, was a dreary day, but it stopped raining in the afternoon, so I went for a hike around SS's farm.  It's really nice and peaceful there.  I love his cows; they're like big dogs. We ate dinner at Red Dog on Main Taphouse and Eatery. 

Thursday, we were to go home, but Virginia got an ice Storm.  We, prudently, waited till the next day.  Still, we packed the meat in SS's big Cooler and put it in the car.  It must have weighed 200 pounds.

Friday, we got on the road early. I-81 was packed but moving until we got to Lexington.  It was a mess.  We got off at the Walmart exit and took Highway-11 to Greenville, popped up on I-81, and took the I-64 Exit.  We stopped at Jimmy John's on the way to the house.  Happy to be home, we worked together storing the meat in our new freezer, and then celebrated by watching Ghosts Christmas Special.

Sunday, 11 December 2022: On The Hunt

Artemis 1 returned to earth today, the end of a highly successful mission.  It was fun to watch. Jay, KS, and Em watched from their house.  "We were surprised to learn that the surface of the sun was only 10,000 degrees, Granddaddy. We assumed it would be like a million bazillion degrees or something like that."   My scientist is adorable.

I'm on the hunt for my Great-Grandmother, Irene M Garrison Lee, first wife of Andrew Thomas Lee, who died after the birth of my grandfather, Barnie.  She's lost in time.  The only records of her come from before their marriage in 1901 and their marriage records.

Mom probably knew everything I'm trying to find out.

It looks like I'll have to do a trip to Alabama - Tuscaloosa to McShan to Havana to Carrolton to Yantly.

Saturday, 10 December 2022: Guest Room

For the last two days, Kady and I have been adjusting the guest room.  Step one was to get some carpet guys out to stretch the carpet and anchor it.  This was not done by the idiots who installed it.  At the last minute, she decided she wasn't painting.  YAY!  That let us put in the new bed, move one of my bookcases there, move in her oval desk, and shuffle the books.  Mine went downstairs, and hers came upstairs and into her new guestroom/study.  That sounds easier than it was.  I probably made twenty trips up and down the stairs, carrying books both ways.

I finished up this morning after breakfast.

For lunch, we picked up a pizza from A Squared Pizza. It was really good.  This cat cooks pizza in his home on Saturdays,  you sign up for a time slot, drive there, and he brings it to your car.  Cash Only.  It felt a little like a drug deal.  He's getting so popular that he's booked through March.

He's got the bread and the sauce down, but he needs to double the amount of pepperoni.  I prefer Kim-Style Deep-dish Skillit Pepperoni Pizza a LOT!  She says that his pizza was better, but that's BS.

Tomorrow, packing for Tennessee.

6 December 1981, Division Main Chapel, Ft. Bragg, NC

Tuesday, 6 December 2022: 41st Anniversary

Since 6 December 1981, I've been married to the finest girl in the whole world.  I'm blessed by her every action and I know it.  She has built for us a perfect life, a wonderful home, and a comfortable retirement.  All I did was bring home the paychecks to support her plan.

She gave me two perfect kids and they are who they are because she was a stay-at-home mom, raising them while I played Army.  She managed the finances, made the purchases, established her style, supported the family, and moved us from Fayetteville to Charlottesville through 15 moves.  She's endured having her things scuffed, broken, lost, misplaced, and stolen.  She has sent me off to war and deployments without a complaint and has flown herself and the kids across the Atlantic six times.

There are al lot of things that fell nicely into place for this to happen - getting out of the Army, getting a divorce, her coming back to the church (cult), me continuing to attend, her looking past my faults, and me getting up the nerve to ask her out.  We had to deal with a lot of negativity about our relationship from the members of the church (yeah, I said "Cult"), from the pastor (cult leader) on down (sheep).  No one, it was obvious, thought we would make it.

We showed em!  Yeah.  Forty-one years and going strong.

I know I'm lucky.  Winning!

We stayed in pajamas all day and ordered in Bone Fish Grill.

1980 at my parents' house

1981 at her parents' house

1983 in Pinson

1984 at Sally's

1986 Izmir Turkey

1988 before England

1990 in Hatay

1991 in Alsancak

2002 Ring Figure

2006 25th Anniversary

2007 Preparing for Queen Elizabeth's visit, Richmond

2009 Old Dominion Cotillion Ball

2019 Manhattan Kansas

Monday, 5 December 2022: Lost in the Woods

I missed Ryan's Birthday on the First.  I suck!  I apologized this morning.  She was, of course, super sweet about it.

Saturday we watched all the games.  We cheered for Georgia as the best choice to win(SEC, SEC, SEC).  We want Michigan in it, so we pulled for them too.  Both won handily.  We like K-State, so we were glad to see them win.  Too bad TCU gets to still play in the bowl series.  WE missed the Utah Blow-out of USC in Friday.  

I wanted USC in the series, but I guess they wanted something else.  Now, Ohio State is back in it.  I hope they are prepared for another embarrassing game.  Georgia, I predict, will kill them.  Michigan should beat TCU, leaving Georgia and Michigan in the Championship bowl.

Yesterday, I went for a two-hour walk at Ivy Creek Natural Area.  It was nice, but I went much farther than I had planned.  I put away my map and followed the signs and blaze markers, and, somehow, I missed a turn, which took me way out of my way.  I had to turn on my Garmin's compass, align my map, and pull out my phone map to get my bearings.

When I got home, I asked Kady is she was worried.  She said that she wan't because my Icon was moving on Google Maps. Hahahaha.  The girl tracks my every move, the little creeper.  I was gone a long time, so, I'm guessing she was just checking.  You know, a bear could have been dragging my carcass.

I've seen enpugh woods a streams for a while.  I need an downtown trip with my camera this week.

Friday, 2 December 2022: Preddy Creek

First thing on my agenda this morning was to fix our smart home devices.  It took me about an hour od adjusting between the Nest and Home accounts, but I had it done, though Nest still couldn't see the new camera.  This isn't a problem, unless you have a wife like Kady who is a fan of the Nest App and refuses to accept anything Google as normal on her fuckin' iPhone.

An issue I didn't like was how the new camera goes to sleep to conserve the battery.  I walked outside to see if movement turned it on, but no, it sent me a notification that it sensed movement, but waited for me to turn it on.  Non-Starter!  There could be a setting to correct the issue, but I didn't bother to look.

We're sending it back.

After breakfast, I went for a hike at Preddy Creek Trail Park.  There are many more trails out there than there were the last time I went.  That was in June 2021 with DJ.

I took all my camera kit and my monopod, giving it all a shakeout walk.  It was obvious that I need to lighten the load, being selective about what I take on long walks . . . or use my backpack.  For Battlefields, photo trips, and short walks, it was fine, but long walks should include only the Monopod and the camera, plus binoculars.  That's all I used today.

My Garmin Solar Tactical continues to amaze.  I had it track me everywhere I went with GPS and used the compass to keep my map oriented North.  I had the presence of mind to download the trail map this time.  That's a MUST in this park.

It was quiet and peaceful out there.  I only saw two other people, one on a bike and one walking his dogs.  This is a multi use trail park, so I usually see a lot of walkers, some mountain bikers, and a few horses when I'm out there.  I don't know whey, but I rarely see any wildlife.  It was like that today except for a few birds  flying about through the trees.

Next pretty day, I'm going to Ivy Creek Natural Area.

Thursday, 1 December 2022: Google Home

My new Google Nest Battery Camera came in today and I set about setting it up.  I began like I always do, With Nest.  Nope.  This camera can only be set up with Google Home and by migrating your Nest account over to Google Home.  In no time at all, I had a big ole mess on my hands.  I couldn't see the new camera on Nest.  I couldn't see the old Cameras on Home, and, worst of all, Kady couldn't sign into anything.

I went to bed with it still fucked up.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022: Rain

It rained all day, no tornadoes though.  Mississippi and Alabama had a bad time of it.

The only thing I did today was take in the new freezer and put it out in the shed.  Kim was a big help.  We need one.  SS killed a steer and had it butchered.  He is giving us half the meat.

I watched Cyrano tonight.  Loved it!  I finished The Crown.  It was only OK.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022: The Grands

I worked on my telescope this morning after sweeping off the front porch for Kim.  For us, really.    I don't like leaves on the porch.  I had my scope on a tripod to use like an alt-azimuth mount, but it was too wobbly.  I put it back on its Equatorial Mount.  Now I'll have to look up how to set it for this area . . .again.  I can never remember how to do that.

I walked yesterday and it was glorious out, cool, but not cold.  I wore running pants and a hoodie.  I usually listen to Radiolab when I walk.  I listened to an episode that told the story of when the Supreme Court started getting out of their lane.

I'm glad to be home.  Look at me being nice.

I went over to Jay's yesterday to watch Emily while he was in a meeting.  Kelly is in New Jersey.  When Emily came in from school, she told me she would be in her room.  I told her she could do that after she gave me a hug and said hello.  Kids!  How quickly they grow up.  Jake came in about 4 and sat with me a while.  We talked College, Good Grades, Extracurricular Activities, learning to write well, and School Clubs.  He seemed interested when I showed him Warbler's Club Videos . . . the male chorus I was in at Woodlawn High.

No walk today.  Listening to Sting and Pavarotti.

Sunday, 27 November 2023: Charlottesville a Day Early

I was so happy to get out of there and back home.  Within minutes, I had my things put away, trimmed my beard and hair, took a shower, and had my clothes washing.

Sleeping in my bed tonight should be amazing.

Saturday, 26 November 2011: Iron Bowl

I got up way before everyone else and watched another episode of The Bear.  I'm Hooked!

When A got up, he turned on soccer.  Ugh.  Understandable, I guess; he played in high school.  He played for a while in Manhattan, too.

Jay, KS, Em, and Jk came in for a couple of hours   The place got loud.  We order food from Buffalo Wild Wings, not my favorite, but my Honey BBQ wings were decent.

It was fun watching Michigan beat up on The Ohio State University.  It was not so much fun watching the Iron Bowl.   It was a sad year; I feel for the Auburn team.  They had everything stacked against them but they never quit.  The second half, AU played them tight, being outscored by only one point.

We played cards after the game, more Wizards, which I hate.

Friday, 25 November 2022: A Better Plan

E was having workmates over, but, because the baby has something, they have elected to stay away.  We still got chili for lunch.  Yay!   I should have gone walking, but it is very dreary and cold out.  I stayed in PKs all day.

SGM felt a lot better today and her fever was down.  Such a happy little girl.

Given the option, I actually voted to watch USA World Cup Soccer instead of football. which was, of course, a huge mistake.  Soccer is the most boring sport in the world, more boring, even, than golf.  Is this the only sport where two teams play for hours and no one scores and fans are ok with a tie?  England-0, USA-0.  Yawn.

Jay suggested a show on Hulu, The Bear.  I began watching today and it is so good that I'm going to say, after only two episodes, that it is is a Favorite.

Thursday, 24 November 2022: Thanksgiving

We're back in Frederick, arriving yesterday.  Today, A&E laid on a feast that would have fed a small village.  E's friend Julian joined us.

The baby is ill with something, again.  It's one thing after another.  Thank you, Day Care.  A&E took her on a 5K Turkey Trot this morning.  The temperature was in the 30s.  That was probably a mistake.  She was feeling pretty rotten by the afternoon.

I don't know what our plan for tomorrow will be.  I'm hoping to get downtown to see the boats on the creed, which are decorated each year for Christmas.

We'll watch the Iron Bowl here and leave for home Sunday morning.

Saturday, 19 November 2022: Jim and Jimmy John's

My Brother, Jim, and I had a good long video coffee this morning.  We used Instagram Messenger; it wasn't bad.  He told me all about his surgery and Lynn's condition and their recovery.  Ah, but we ae all getting old.  He's 74, a little over 4 years older than I am.  We had good talk and I'm sure we'll do more.

We met Jay, KS, Em, and Ann for lunch at Jimmy John's.  I'm sure Em chose the place; JJ's is her favorite..  I had a Pepe, Original, without mayo.  Not too bad.

Auburn beat Western Kentucky, a really good team.  War damn Eagle!

I have started The English on Prime, a Wild West series  staring Emily Blunt.  It's really good, though I doubt she could have made that shot with the flimsy little bow.  Whenever I say some is unrealistic in a show or movie, Kady always reminds me that my favorite show is about Dragons.  Game - Set - Match, Kady Neel.

Sent by Afton

That's my Browning Citori CX on her shoulder

Friday, 18 November 2022: Civilians

I was supposed to have a Video Coffee with my brother, Jim, this morning.  About fifteen minutes before, I received a text from him saying he forgot he had a doctors appointment this morning.   Hahahaha.  Don't civilians use calendars?  Hell, I aske him to choose the day and time, so you'd think he's check his schedule . . . especially since he goes to the doctor all the time.

Civilians!  I don't get them.  With all the tools we have now, scheduling is easy.  I put everything on my Google calendar, with reminders.  If it's something I may forget, I set a reminder on my Amazon Dot.  And, I'm fuckin' retired!

We're set, again, for 1000(L)19NOV22.  It's already on my calendar and Dot.

Today was Afton's Sporting Clays shoot with the Bosses.  She shot a 53 on what she said was a course that "wasn't easy."   The others shot in the thirties.  Winner!

Wednesday, 16 November 2022: Cutting Out The Bad Stuff

Beginning Saturday, I have been cutting out the sugar in my diet and counting my calories.  I set 1800 calories a day as a goal and have been under that every day.  This is not a struggle and I'm having no cravings.  As of this morning, I have been walking regularly, and exercising to burn off more calories and, as of this morning, I have already lost 5 pounds.

I'm dedicated.  I turned down Bonefish Grill today; SS and Kady went without me.  I've cut my breakfast in half.  I'm using the Fitbit calculator and Kady is helping me estimate the calories when she makes something.  I've cut down on my snacking, grazing, and a lot of the bread. . . . my waist can't afford it.

Monday, 15 November 2022: SS Visit

SS drove up from Tennessee today.  When he and Kady get together, it' fun' gang-up-on-John-time.  Mostly it's fun.  Yesterday, SS began a "discussion" about which I lost my mind,  The two of then didn't "get" what I was saying and kept cutting me off mid sentence, before I could bring t back around.  I had to go upstairs to the War Room to cool off.  Once done, I went back down and apologized for losing my cool.  They were gracious and acted like it was no big thing.

The rest of the night was fun and lighthearted.

I think this one reason why I love writing here - no one can interrupt me.

Kady made Sweet Meatballs and Potatoes au gratin last night.  A favorite.

Yellowstone was good last night, not great.  It seemed a little disjointed, like it didn't fit together.  It certainly didn't flow well.  I can see where they're going and I think it'll pick up but It was actually kind of boring with too many long, evil looks between Jamie and Beth.  Look, we got it; they hate each other.  I was glad the 2.5 hours ended . . . a first.  It was time for bed.

Saturday, 12 November 2022: War damn Eagle

Auburn beat TAMU!  I love beating A&M!  I hate them.  They should probably try another conference.

Cadillac is the man.  He's the best cheerleader we have.  Though I don't think he's experienced or articulate enough to run the program, he should always have a place on the Coaching Staff.  Somehow, he pulled the team up from the destructive influences of Harsin and has coached two really good games.  Yeah, I get it - we beat Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

Saturday decided who would be in the SEC Championship Game.  Alaba's struggle win against Ole Muss sends LSU to Atlanta against Georgia.  LSU, Please Beat Georgia!

Yesterday, it was beautiful here.  By the time I went for my walk, it was almost 70 degrees.  It was a little confusing seeing everyone in Alabama wearing hoodies and jackets at the games.

My eating plan is working.  I don't miss sugar.  I did, however, want to eat all of the spaghetti that Kady made last night.  It was amazing.  I was strong.

Yellowstone Season 5 begins tonight.  SUPER Excited!

Friday, 11 November 2022: Rain

The outer edges of Tropical Storm Nicole hit us last night; it's been pouring all morning.  This is OK with me.  I was supposed to take the Christmas Boxes back over to Jay's and do a Goodwill run today, but It looks like I'll have to put that off till Tomorrow.  I've just texted my vet friends with Veteran's Day wishes and KS with a Happy Birthday.

It's Founder's Day at VMI, but I guess the parade will be canceled.  That's too bad; this one was to honor General Peay.  I am glad I decided not to go.  Who wants to drive in weather like this?

Ah.  The Crown is back on.  I'm such a fan.  Ghosts and Shantaram continue to be awesome.  

Wednesday, 9 November 2022: The Spoiler

I am more surprised this morning than I was when Trump won the presidency.  My plan went to shit.  I voted for Biden for three reasons - 

So, why didn't the red wave happen?  The answer is - TRUMP.  There are still enough people who hate that guy, who won't vote for anyone even loosely associated with him.  

Trump needs to shut his mouth and get out of politics.  He's a pain in the ass and is going to be a huge fly in the ointment two years from now.

Another thing was evident - Republicans choose shitty candidates.  Seriously, Dr. Oz . . . Hershel Walker . . . Sarah Palin?  Idiots!

At least, after being soundly defeated, maybe we've seen and heard the last from Beto and Abrams . . . two democrat idiots.

So, instead of the Red Wave, now we wait for the final results to see if we did anything at all.  Can we live with the status quo for another two years?  

Tuesday, 8 November 2022: Happy Inconclusive News

After a doctor's visit with ECG, we seem to be just fine.  A blood test will tell us more, which is due in tomorrow.  Basically, our NP said it could be a lot of things, but that our heart looks healthy.

This is one old boy who'll sleep better tonight.

Good walk this morning, 4.5 miles with no hip pain.  Voted this afternoon.  Republican.

Monday, 7 November 2022: Maybe It's Something I Ate

We're going to the doctor tomorrow for a little checkup.  A thorough Internet self-diagnosis was accomplished but not enough for one of us. The Kiddos are supportive and a bit more emphatic about a plan of action.  Let's just say this issue needs to be checked out.

I didn't do a damn thing today.  Oh, Wait!  Mosquito Coast is back; I watched that.  Prime announced today that Carnival Row will be back for one more season beginning on 17 February.

Saturday, 5 November 2022: A New Start for AU

What a week for the Auburn Tigers - Brian Harsin was Fired, Cadillac Williams was made Interim Head Coach, New Coach Speculation was out of control, we hired a New Athletic Director, and had to play a game with Mississippi State.

Through all that, the team really pulled together and played an exciting and beautiful game against State.  We almost had 'em.

I was very proud and was reminded why I'm an Auburn Tiger.

Well Done, The Team!  War damn Eagle.

It was a crazy Football Saturday.  Clemson Lost to ND, Alabama lost to LSU, Liberty beat Arkansas, and Georgia beat Tennessee.

How the mighty have fallen.

Friday, 4 November 2022: Abortion

On my walk today, I went back to RadioLab and listened to No-Touch Abortion.

I've been struggling with this issue since rejecting the cult and all its teachings.  One of those teachings was about when human life begins.  Our Pastor (cult leader) taught that the Bible said that life began at first breath.  He used the verse in Luke (Luke 1: 35) that said, "the holy thing (in Mary's womb) which shall be born of thee" to prove that god considered the fetus a "thing" until birth.  We took this and ran with the notion that abortions were OK until the baby took its first breath.

I've said before, The more I studied, the more I realized that the bible didn't say many of the things I had been taught as Devine Truth.  This is a perfect example.  Reading down to verse 41, the "thing" in Elizabeth's womb is clearly called a baby (Βρέϕος).

This issue has troubled me for some time.  I'm not sure where I stand.  When is the fetus "alive?"  Is there a point during the gestation period when the fetus becomes a human being?  Is it at fertilization, when it has a heartbeat, when it reacts to stimuli, or when it looks like a baby?   Where's the science on this?

This episode on RadioLab dealt with the newest science on the Abortion Pill.  The Science is in - Most women can abort a pregnancy, up to ten weeks, with the pill, as long as they have no underlying medical conditions.   In most cases, this can be determined with a questionnaire while meeting with a doctor over video.

The pill is illegal in many states, so, women wanting abortions are finding workaround solutions.  There is a good podcast on this at The New Yorker Radio Hour - The New Abortion Underground.

Neither of these two podcasts dealt with the politics of the issue, No-Touch Aportions dealt with the science while The New Abortion Underground reported on how the pills are getting from Mexico to American women with restricted access.

But . . . What about the Moral and Ethical implications?  What are our American Norms and Standards?

" . . . one thing I think important to note is that we're talking about abortions with pills, but there are a chunk of people for whom that doesn't apply at all, you know? They need to get the old-school, you know, surgical abortion. " ~ Dr. Avir Mitra, MD

Latif didn't ask, "Why."  I can only guess that this "chunk" is populated by those in the latter stages of pregnancy . . . after ten weeks. . . after the fetus looks like a baby, has a heartbeat, and reacts to stimuli.

Come on Radiolab!  Ask the hard questions!

So, where am I on this?  I'm leaning toward Ten- Twelve Weeks.  Before is OK, After is Not.  I'm leaving room for extenuating circumstances and emergencies. 

I'm not 100% there.

I'm waiting on the science.

I'm Rain-Xing the windshield today.  Kady made Pizza for dinner, after which we watched Ghosts.  Thorfin is my Fave.

Thursday, 3 November 2022: Was it Five Years Ago?

Afton sent me a photo from her FB Feed, a five-year reminder of my retirement parade at VMI.  Wow.  Five Years.  Though I didn't want a big-to-do, it turned out to be a fun day.

I had a light breakfast and a light salad for lunch.  Done for the day. 

Kady has begun her downsizing plan for the Guestroom; it will become an office for her with a twin bed.  The bed arrived today from Ikea.  Sandy is due-in in a couple of weeks.  He'll bring us half the bull he just took to the butcher and go away with the current guest bed for his farmhouse.

Wednesday, 2 November 2022: Car Detailing

One of the most pleasurable things I've done throughout my life is to detail my car.  No one could do it better.

I was the Master.  Now, that shit HURTS!  

Today I detailed our Venza and it looks amazing, but I am so sore and tired that there is no enjoyment anymore.  I'm just glad it is done.  I'm going to wax it throughout the week, doing a section at a time, and when that's done, I'll be looking for a good Detailer around town.

I took a nap after I was finished.  When I woke up, I didn't want to get out of bed.  I wasn't sure I could.  Vitamin M, tonight!

Kady made hotdogs for dinner.  I turned mine into Sneaky Pete's.  Winner!

Tuesday, 1 November 2022: Dental

Kady and I drove to BV today for dental.  All is well in that area.  What I've been doing around where I had the infection is working.  Our next appointment is in May.

Tonight, I watched Em while Jay went to BJJ.  I say I watched Em but she stayed upstairs the whole night talking to her friend online.

Monday, 31 October 2022: Auburn

Auburn Fired Brian Harsin today.  Who's Next?  Hell, I'll go and take the $15M in two years.  I wonder how many Ex-Head Coaches we have on the payroll there.  It's such a shit show.

Tonight, we hid from the trick-or-treating kids.  You do that in our neighborhood by turning off your porch light.  We left at about 7 to watch Smile at Alamo Cinema.  I like that place and like their pizza.  The movie was freaky and scary.  I think it is the best scary movie I've seen in a while.

Sunday, 30 October 2022: New Show

I've been watching Shantaram on Apple TV and it is incredibly good.  I highly recommend it.

Otherwise, I haven't done a thing all day.

Saturday, 29 October 2022: Presidents Heads

Kady went on another of her photo trips this morning.  She's been wanting to photograph the huge busts of the presidents in Williamsburg.  She bought the tickets a while back, and we hatched a plan for fun things on The Peninsular.

We left at 0815 and drove straight to Brickhouse Tavern for Garlic Cheese Bread, salads, and Jose Wings.  We even bought two orders of wings to bring home.

My plan was to visit Greenlawn Cemetery where my G-G-Grandfather Lee is buried after he died in the Yankee POW camp there, but Kady balked when she checked the time.  No biggie.  The monument isn't going anywhere . . . I think.

Heading back west on I-64, we made it to The President's Heads by 1300.  It was more crowded than I expected and hard to get a photo without someone in it.  That was OK, they could serve as perspective.  We knew it was going to be muddy so I wore my Wellies.  I got into some pretty deep water.

I'm glad someone has saved these things.  Though in pretty bad shape, someone spent a lot of time and energy making them.  They were to go in a park, but that didn't happen or didn't last.  Too bad.  They should be in a park somewhere and I don't think it would take much to refurbish them.

We listened to Auburn lose to Arkansas on the way home.

Friday, 28 October 2022: Costa's Famous BBQ Charlottesville

We just had a fun meal with Ann, Jay, and Em.  My Idea.  I had Kady bring in some Costa's BBQ sauce from Birmingham.  Next we ordered some nice buns and Lay's Potato Chips from Walmart.  Kady, then, ordered two pounds of pulled pork from Martin's Grill and I picked it up.  Kady heated it all up and . . . Voila!  Coast's in Charlottesville.  Pretty Great.

Em came over this morning while Jay attended a meeting.  Unexpected, but welcome.  It wrecked my morning routine, but we had a lot of fun.

Tuesday, 25 October 2022: YES, You CAN go Home Again

Sorry, Thomas.

Kady and I were home by 1000 hours yesterday.  I went straight into my Back Home Routine - Unpack the car (including the Coffee Table), move all of the bags upstairs, throw my dirty clothes in the washer, take a shower, wash and dry my clothes, unpack and put away what I didn't wear, fold and put away the clean clothes, download my photos to my computer, and then put away all of the things that went with me (Laptop, Camera, Pistol, Flashlight, Hearing Aids, . . . ).  While I did all of this, I watched the season finale of House of the Dragon.  It was another great episode.  OK, Let's Dance!  The Greens are going Down!  Come on Season 2!

When I was done, I cut off all my hair and trimmed my beard.  Ah.  I feel so much better.

Lastly, I went to get Taco Bell.

Today, I've been file organizing and creating an encrypted thumb drive and an encrypted file.  On these, I'll keep a new Private Journal I've been writing . . . you know . . . deepest, darkest thoughts stuff.

I watched Em tonight while Jay went to his BJJ class.  I hardly saw the girl.  She played outside until 1838, came in, ate, and then told me she was going upstairs.  I could hear her chatting with someone online, probably her aunt.  Babysitting is easy.

Sunday, 23 October 2022: Just. One. More. Day.

I'm so tired.  I don't sleep. walk, or eat well here.  That is partly MY fault.

Kady and I are watching the baby while the kids go to the Green Bay vs. Redskins game in DC.  We'll leave tomorrow morning for Charlottesville and HOME.  After I unpack the car, set up Kady's Coffee Table, and wash my clothes, I'm going to Nap.  When I wake up, I'm going to walk and work out.  IF I eat, it's going to be light.  

I love the time with E, A, and SGM but I need to get some sleep, work my body, and Purge!

I have a lot on my To-do List for next week.  The most important to me is to begin a Personal Journal.  I need that.

Saturday, 22 October 2022: Saturday Shuffle

It's a Bye Week for Auburn.  They'll return next week against Arkansas, who is also struggling this year.  So, . . . AU didn't lose today.

The plan this morning was to go to Gaver Farm, again.  E wanted to get in her Cross Fit workout first, so we planned on leaving at about noon.  SGM decided to sleep until after 1400, which gave "us" too much time to think.

We had lunch from South Market Sandwich Company, my favorite place in all of Frederick.  They have the best sandwiches!  I try a different one each time and have never had one that wasn't delicious.  Today I had the Memphis - Roasted Chicken, Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Tomatoes, Grilled Onions, and BBQ Sauce, on Toasted Sourdough.   AMAZING!!

After SGM had lunch, we ended up at Farmer Churchbone's Pumpkin Patch, which wasn't much, but just right for the enjoyment of an 18-month-old, only 15 minutes away, and it was Free.

Friday, 21 October 2022: Play-Time

I spent the whole day on the floor, yesterday, playing with SGM and giving Kady a little break.  She's been a champ all week, doing "All-the-things."  I could tell she was reaching her saturation level, so sent her off to do some Kady Things.

SGM is the easiest baby EVER.  Even though she has a sinus infection, she's happy and playful . . . mischievous, actually.  My favorite of her tricks is when she touches something she knows she isn't supposed to touch, like an electrical outlet, she'll say, "No."

I took some photos of her yesterday, all available light, so most of them were blurry.  She's in constant motion. 

I was up, first, this morning and had a little quiet time before E came down to di a Virtual Officer Interview with her staff and a potential replacement.  Pretty boring stuff except for the part where E started the meeting, telling the prospective what they did and who they supported.  One-over-the-world but interesting stuff.  She's a great briefer. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2022: Short-Lived

Feeling Better.  I felt a little tired and "off" yesterday, but feel just fine today. 

SGM is still feeling poorly but is still her normal, happy self.  She is the easiest baby, ever.

I emailed my RSVP for the Founders Day Activities at VMI telling them I wasn't coming.  I'm pretty sure I won't be missed.  VMI is Anxiety and Stress that I have left behind.  Going back to Lexington for this event has been the biggest thing on my mind since getting the invitation.  Should I wear a suit, trim my beard, or cut my hair?  Who'll be there?  With whom will I talk, sit, . . . ?  What should I say to General Peay?  How should treat MG Wins and the BOV members?  What could I possibly say to them, being true to myself?

And then it hit me last night - Just don't go.  Don't let the nonsense that is VMI re-invade your life.  Boom.  Problem solved.

Monday, 17 October 2022: Relapse?

I've been out of my house less than 24 hours and I've got . . . something.  It feels like the onset of the Covid I had a month ago - upset stomach, lowgrade fever, achy joints, tired, my scratchy throat is back . . .

Great.  When I told Kady, she said something dismissive, and I growled at her.

The baby is still Ill.  She's such a happy little thing, but I  don't think she feels well.  She still has a bad cough and coughs all through her nap.  I think she has Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

Sunday, 16 October 2022: Granddaughter Time

We're back in Frederick, driving in this afternoon.  This trip wasn't as smooth.  We had to wait in the Front Royal McDonald's Drive-thru for about thirty minutes and hit a slow-down around Harper's Ferry.  It was almost 1600 by the time we got here.

SGM is so cute.  She has a lot more hair and it makes her even more adorable.  E loves it messy.  I admit that it is cute, but I want to brush it.

She warmed to me as soon as I got in the door, but wouldn't let me hold her.  I fixed that by getting down on the floor and playing with one of her favorite toys.

We'll be keeping her while the kids work, keeping her out of school, to help her get over her bronchitis without catching something else.

"I paid to see the rabbit jump and I'm gonna see the rabbit JUMP!" ~ Yosemite Sam

Well, we watch House of the Dragon to see Dragons . . . and . . . Last night we finally had some real Game of Thrones Dragon Action!  It was the best episode to date and may have, in my case, saved the show.

She should have burned them all!

Saturday, 13 October 2022: Full Day

I've been invited to General Peay's Award Ceremony and the Founder's Day Parade and Reception at VMI on 11 November.  I want to go, but I tried on my suit coat and It's snug.  I have until the 4th to RSVP, which gives me 17 days to work off some of my belly.  ABS!  I began those yesterday.  I've been pretty strict on myself and my diet since Monday - two meals a day, nothing after 1500, and NO SNACKS!

This is good motivation; I really want to go but I ain't going looking like I do.

Yesterday, I worked out all day long, which is what I need to do.

AU looked a lot better this afternoon against Ole Miss, but it took benching Ashford for a series to get his head together.  He was like a new man when he came back in.  He and Tak had words on the sidelines.  I can only imagine Tank had had enough of the sloppy play.

The Tennessee vs. Alabama game was crazy.  Go Vols.

Just before dark, Kady, Jay, and I drove to Somerset to do the flashlight maze at Liberty Mill Farm.  It was so much fun.  They really are organized and have the best maze I have ever seen.  The map they gave us was essential; we might still be out there.  Jay was amazing leading the way, while I conferred with him and double-checked his work.  The compass on my Garmin came in handy.  Kady kept us abreast of the Tennessee-Alabama game for the last two quarters.  Our Gearlight headlamps were perfect.

Thursday, 13 October 2022: Last Day

The weather was rainy in Appomattox and pretty in Charlottesville, so, rather than sit in the cabin all day and do nothing, we drove back home.  Neither of us saw any benefit to sleeping there tonight, only to drive back tomorrow morning.  Easy Choice!

I just changed my Cell Service to Xfinitymobile from Google Fi.  Being on the same plan saves us $35 + tax a month.  Being on Xfinity saves $20 a month and Kady's iPhone can make Wifi Calls.  All other things are equal, even coverage, which seems the same.  Easy Choice!

I just watched She Hulk Finale.  I sure hope they do more seasons.  Easy Choice!

Wednesday, 12 October 2022: Did we need a Getaway?

Not much going on here.  I guess that's the point.  Kim and I have concluded two things - Time is at a Standstill and our house is the Best Getaway on the Planet.

It's not that we don't appreciate the quiet, beauty, and alone time, it's just that we've done pretty much what we do at home while here.

I sat out on the porch again this morning and read a couple of chapters of The South was Right by James and Walter Kennedy.  Good Book.  Compelling.  I could have written it.

Kady made Breakfast when she got up.  So Good.

I went back out to bird watch, but I didn't see a thing.  I heard a Pileated Woodpecker down by the river, but couldn't spot him.  At 1400, Kady and I went for a trail walk but ran out of trails.

I think we'll finish our trip tomorrow afternoon and then drive home before dark.  Seeping at home is always better.

Tuesday, 11 October 2022: Coffee on the Deck

I got up before the Sun this morning, grabbed a blanket, a banana, and a coffee, and watched the sunrise from the back porch.  Nice.

It was quiet for a while, then the birds began waking.  The only other thing that broke the silence were the Acorns falling from the trees.  That's a thing here.  I heard them all night.

Kady got up right after and made a fantastic breakfast of sausage and egg muffins, apple cinnamon oatmeal bites, watermelon, and orange juice.  Amazing.

After doing a bit of organizing, I went for a short walk to the main road where the owners said we could get cell service.  Sure enough, I got two bars up there on Google Fi.  I took along my camera and monopod, looking for some good shots.

Monday, 10 October 2022: Cabin in the Woods

Start-Ex: 1300

Kady and I left in the afternoon after Walmart delivered our groceries for the trip.  The drive took us down beautiful little Virginia backroads, south of Charlottesville, to Appomattox County.  We rented a small cabin on fifty acres on the Appomattox River. It's super quaint and very rustic but has all of the amenities except Cell Coverage.   Even the WiFi is pretty good.

Once moved in, we took a walk to the river, which is down a steep hill.  There were a few tough parts, but it wasn't that bad.  The Appomattox is a lazy little river, not very deep at the point behind the cabin, and looked inviting.  In warmer weather, a swim might have been in order.  We opted to sit in the chairs down by the firepit and just take in the view.

We went straight uphill on our return to the Cabin.  That was a workout but we took it slowly and stopped for a breather a few times.  Back at the cabin, we sat and talked, and posted on Instagram, before going to bed. 

Kady and Me, Down by the River

Sunday, 9 October 2022: Pennyworth

First thing on my plate this morning was a walk.  It was cool and sunny ot, so I headed for the lakes and walked along them.  I never see ducks.  Maybe we'll get some passing through later in the Fall.

Next, I went to fill the car and run it through the car wash.  I took it to the new car wash across from McDonald's, and, because I was a new customer, the guy there gave me a free wash.  Nice.  This place is clean and did a great job on the car.

After, I picked up lunch at Arby's.  I needed that because Kady got me some Costa's BBQ Sauce from Alabama.  The Best!

After lunch, I settled in for some more Pennyworth on HBO.  This is, by far, the best thing to come out of the DC Universe.  I highly recommend it.  Billed as "The Origin of Batman's Butler," I'll say it, "Batman has nothing on Alfred Pennyworth."  This show may not sound like your "cup-a" but you have to trust me.  It is smashing!

Now, I'm packing for the Cabin Trip while I wait on House of The Dragon.

Saturday, 8 October 2022: More Pain

Can it get any worse?  Oh, Yeah!  And . . . it's going to.

Our Defense played well but had to play most of the game.  The Offense was no help, giving up the ball after three downs after almost every series.  Our QB was ineffective as were our Running Backs.

Here is what Harsin and his genius coaches need to do - 

Tighten up the Discipline: Stop with the penalties.  Tuck the Ball.  Watch your Snaps.  No Trick Plays against the number two team in the nation, in our territory, COACH!

What the Hell is all of this?

It is great having Kady back home.  She brought back a bunch of boxes we had stored.  In one, we found my flags from the countries I've visited, two old flip-phones, and my Hot Wheels Mustangs.  Cool!

Friday, 7 October 2022: Tracking Kady

Kady has had me on full-time location sharing for years.  It is probably a good idea, considering my age and my need to hike and walk.  Well, when she hit 60, I asked for the same consideration.  It surely put my mind at ease on this trip.  I was able to follow her all the way to SS's house on Monday and all the way home today.

At 1245, Afton sent me a text saying, "Well the only thing I proved today is that shooting is a perishable skill, lol."  I bet she did better than that.  If she doesn't score in the 20s, she always gets down on herself.  I've asked for her scores.

When Kady got home, the Venza was full of boxes.  This car is a truck!

Blue Bloods Season 13 begins tonight.

Thursday,  6 October 2022: A Small Trap and Skeet Reunion

Afton stopped by today to borrow my Citori.  She has a trap and skeet shoot tomorrow and another in November.  She is the one person I would let borrow the gun.  At least someone will get some use out of it; I can't raise it above shoulder height since surgery.

She brought her mom and son, Wes, both adorable.

The day was quiet and calm, then, at 1720, Jay brought Em over for me to watch again.  Fifteen minutes later, Afton showed.  At 1800, KS came in the door and stayed a few minutes before taking Em home.

Poor KS looked so tired,  She has been in Salem with her little sister who is in a bad way after a strong reaction to a medication she was taking.  She's still not out of danger.  They gave her a tracheotomy today to help her breathe, clear out her lungs, and help her heal.  The little girl is only 21.  I hope she makes it.

Nothing else is going on around here.  I watched Em Tuesday night while Jay did Ju Jitsu.  We went with him to the gym.  

Kady will be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, 5 October 2022: Maker's Mark

Yeah, Maker's Mark.  All Of It.

Tuesday, 4 October 2022: Batchin' It

I miss my car.  

OK, Wait.  I miss Kim, so, I miss my car.  

I figure, to be a proper Batchelor, you need wheels.  Damnit

Sunday, 2 October 2022: Slippin' Away

The Team had 'em.  LSU. The Plains.  Up by 17.

Then, AU let them back on the ballgame.  They beat us.

We Play Georgia next.  That should be ugly.  Then we have a series of SEC Games which I don't think we'll win.  This is going to be the toughest year in recent Auburn History.

It's been raining the last few days, but It should stop tomorrow.  I need a walk.

Jay, KS, and Em came over for Supper tonight.  Kady made lasagna, garlic knots, salad, and key lime pie.  There were enough leftovers to feed me for a couple of days while she is in Tennessee.

Out Walmart Delivery was screwed up by an inept driver today.  He took it back to the store and claimed it was "undeliverable" though we were standing at the window waiting while watching him drive all over the place on the App.

I had to go pick it up.

When I got to Walmart, the place was covered up and every slot in the pick-up area was full.  I tried the delivery door and it was locked, so I went to the inside door and waited for someone to come out.  Before the door could close, I walked into the Associates' Only area.  I guy asked if he could help me and I explained I was there to see if I could pick up a delivery that had been brought back to the store.  He said, "Well, you can't be back here."

I gave him my best calm look and said, "And Yet, Here I am.  I'll happily walk out the door if you find someone to help me."  I had our groceries in about five minutes.

Saturday, 1 October 2022: Looking Forward to Leaving September Behind

My Apologies to Drew Womack.  

September is tough on me.  Twenty-one years ago, I left Turkey, left my friends, and left the Army.  A few days after my retirement, when the Islamic Terrorists flew planes into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and into the dirt in Pennsylvania, I realized I had left too soon.

Twenty-one years and I still wonder what could have been If I had stayed.

Jay was born in September, which is a happy time, but there are other September Birthdays that make me sad. My little brother and Cooper were born this month.

This September also gave the whole family COVID and my brother's open chest surgery.

October promises better things.  Kady is going to Tennessee, giving her some away time and me some Batchelor Time.  Having only one car restricts my planning, but I have some things I want to do; I'll just have to walk.  Week-after-next is our Cabin in the Woods trip.  I'm looking forward to that.

We'll go to Frederick for a weekend soon after the Cabin.

AU vs. LSU today.  It doesn't look good.

The O'Neal Sisters

It has happened again.

I met Sharilyn (Sheri) and Karen O'Neal at a Kennedy School sock hop in the 8th grade.  Shari was a year older than me and Karen a year younger.  I got up the nerve to ask Shari to the B-4-Hi final dance (I think it was) or a 67th Street Methodist Church Valentine's Banquet.  She accepted.  It was a sweet thing for a 15-year-old freshman in high school to do for a goofy 14-year-old  eighth-grader.

I, absolutely, went to that dance with the most beautiful girl there.  I think even Mom was amazed.

When I got to high school, she was a sophomore and even more beautiful.  Even if she had liked me in that way, dating would have been socially unacceptable for her.  I dated younger girls, but girls didn't date younger boys.  They dated boys who could drive.  I bet this is still true.

She and I were good friends through school but she was out of my league . . . way out.

When her little sister began high school, a year behind me, she and I became close friends as well.  Karen was equally as beautiful and I liked her a lot, but I never even considered dating her out of respect for Sheri.  

I was her Campaign Manager during my senior year as she ran for Student Body Vice President.  I still remember the words to her campaign song, Squeal for O'Neal, which we wrote together and I sang on stage in front of the whole student body . . . dressed like Lil Abner, wearing a straw Hat, and holding a piglet.

I don't remember if she won but I remember Sheri not liking this collaboration . . . at all.

After school, we all lost touch.  I have looked for them many times, but have never had any luck.

I'm pretty sure I've found Sharilyn.  The other day, I decided to Google them together.  An obituary popped up for a lady who had to be their mom, dated 1 July 2015.

Sherilyn was listed in "Survived By" but Karen was listed in "Proceeded in Death."  Damnit!  Too Late Again.  I've found her death record; she died in 2002 at 49.  How sad.  I wonder what happened.   I can't find her obituary.

After finding Sheri's married name, it was a no-brainer to find her address and phone number.

Now I'm left wondering - Should I contact Sheri?  I would have to discuss Karen with her.  I might look like a creeper.  Perhaps I should just let her remain the e 18-year-old girl I remember.

I asked Kady and we agreed - I should let it lie.

Squeal for O'Neal

by Karen O'Neal and Johnny Neel

sung to the tune of Jubilation T. Cornpone

When it comes to seeking

a vice president with high aims

There's none other for the job

than this well-qualified dame

(She came up with the word Dame; I argued against it.  She was no Dame!) 


Why don't you

Squeal for O'Neal

Vote for the best deal

Squeal for O'Neal

for First Vice President

(could have been Girl's Vice President)

She is in Euclidian

and Junior National too

Latin Honor, National,

and Sportsmanship's her bag too

(She was a member of the Euclidian, National Junior, and National Honor Societies, as well as the school's Sportsmanship Committee)


When it comes to schoolin'

she surely did excel

but when it comes to figures

she didn't do so well.

(It took us a bit of tap dancing and a little white lie to get this verse past Ms. Godwin, the school censor.  

"No Ms. Godwin, this isn't about her physical appearance*, she has always struggled in math.)

* Karen was a babe, though a slander girl.

Chorus x 2

Sherilyn from the 1970 Woodlog

Dot Matrix; how ridiculous!

Karen from the 1971 Woodlog

Tuesday, 27 September 2022: Brain Fog

I don't feel like doing much today; I feel blah.  It's almost noon and I haven't gone for my walk, which means I probably won't.  I'm guessing I'm still not over the COVID.  Some days I feel great, others, I feel tired and unable to focus.

I'm also a bit irritable.  I've been deleting people from my contacts and from my web page.  I began with those people I have not heard from since retirement.  No great loss, most of them.

I need to grab my camera and go.

I took my telescope out tonight for a good look at Jupiter.  Yep, still out there.  It is bright as can be and you can see Callisto, Io, Ganymede, and Europa.  So Cool!

Sunday, 25 September 2022: "I Got to Move On, Not Fade Away"

Yeah, Listening to Stephen Stills.  My music lives in the 1970s.  Stills, Crosby, CS&N, Eagles, . . . 

I went for a walk between games yesterday.  Auburn looked so bad against Missouri.  They were handed the ball game.  They didn't deserve it.  Too busy listening to their new Beats headphones, I guess.

I'm down on Auburn almost as much as I'm down on Birmingham.

I went fungus hunting with my camera down the path by our lake.  I was highly successful.  There are all manner of different fungi out there.

It was like a steam bath out there; I was smoked when I got back to the house.

After a shower, I watched a little more football, bits-and-pieces of other, BETTER, games.

Today, all I have done is watch For All Mankind on Apple TV.  It's the best show I've seen in a long while.

Thursday, 22 September 2022: NAS Nonsense

I've been fucking around with this NAS all damn day, trying to figure out how to do common sense things, and not getting anywhere.  I took it back to factory settings three times, streamlining my setup each time and trying new things.  The ASUSTOR Training Videos were useless and over-dubbed with electronic disco music.  Must be a Chinese Thing.

This process certainly isn't intuitive.

Finally, I found a video by an Aussie who took me step-by-step through the process in a common sense pattern.  In no time, I had it set up and running like a Network Drive.

My first order of business was to upload all of my Photos, which is why I got this thing. Next, I'll set up a sync for my Hard Drive.  

Kim made her Prosciutto and Caramelized Red Onion Pizza today, a John Favorite.  It's like eating candy.

Wednesday, 21 September 2022: New NAS

After much ado, plans, old computers, old drives, and failures, I have a new Network Attached Storage (NAS) drive.  It was super easy to set up, initialize, set on Raid 1, and now I'm backing up all my files.

Only 3000 more to go.

This should simplify my data storage and give me off-site access without having to carry around an external drive

Tuesday, 20 September 2022: Good Snow

Holy Cow!  HBO is making a Jon Snow sequel!  It may be out as soon as January, starring Kit Harrington.  I'll bet anything that they'll make a West of Westeros series as well.

Monday, 19 September 2022: Out Yonder

I watched Where the Crawdads Sing today.  Loved it!  Really Loved Daisey Edgar-Jones.  So Cute!

House of the Dragon is beginning to watch like a Day Time Soap Opera to me.  I hope it gets better.  It is watched as the book reads . . just the facts, not a lot of detail.

Today was about Recovery.  I went for a short walk but mostly sat around the War Room doing piddly-ass shit.  I've begun working on my flexibility.  I've found that I Can't do Yoga.

Sunday, 18 September 2022: Back Home; Hunkering Down

Kady and I drove home this morning while A drove in from Dulles.  We were home by noon.  We took the 15-340-522-231-29 route again, convinced, now, that it is the most enjoyable.  The traffic was light, the weather nice, and we took our time.

Neither of us are feeling well, so we were more than glad to be home and more comfortable.

Last night, in a group text we found out that KS and Ann both tested positive for COVID and they have the same symptoms.  We tested and both of us indicated positive as well.  I've kept myself busy all day, cleaning up, folding clothes, watching videos, and transferring files, just to keep my mind off of it.

I've also been sucking on Hall's Cough Drops.

Saturday, 17 September 2022: Woe, Woe on The Plains

Woe!  Woe unto Tiger Fans.  Prepare for a long, long season.  Winter is Coming.

My perspective on the Two QB System:

When you have a Hot Hand in a Basketball Game, you feed him the ball.  When a QB makes a good play in a Two QB System, it seems he comes out and the other guy goes in. 

How do you establish your rhythm in a game like that? 

How does that build confidence?  

How does it establish leadership?

It doesn't do any of that.

Friday, 16 September 2022: Enough Sleep

I lay in bed last night, wide-eyed, until about 2 AM.  When I finally fell asleep, it was sound.  I felt pretty well this morning and got up with SGM and E.  I went for a two-mile walk when SGM left for daycare, and it wiped me OUT!  By 1000, I was ready for a nap.  I didn't wake till 1400, but felt tons better.

Thursday, 15 September 2022: Biological Hot Potato

We think it began when SGM came home from daycare with a cough.  E caught it next, then A, and now we all have it.  What we have may have actually begun with Jay.  I came down with it yesterday.  I'm weak as a kitten, have a fever, a cough, night sweats, and body aches.  It has been a vicious cycle, hopping from one person to another and then making the rounds again.  Kim is on day five and still feels bad.  I talked to Kady about staying home, once we get there, until we are all over this bug.  I think she agrees.

I slept in this morning until almost 9, and then went back to bed after some Cheerios.   I crashed HARD!  I don't even remember getting back up.

She-Hulk S1: E4 dropped today.  If you are not watching this, shame on you.

I went for a short, slow walk this afternoon and sat in the sun for about thirty minutes.  It did me a world of good.  E and I walked a bit when she got home.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022: Antietam

I went to Antietam Battlefield today.  I planned well, chose a fun route, began at the West Woods (because the Visitor Center wasn't open, and swung around to the North, East, and South in the order the battle unfolded.  I had my camera bag, my phone, my tripod/stool/monopod combo, and plenty of water.  I sprayed myself with Off.

I did everything but charge my camera battery.  By the time I got to The Sunken Road/Bloody Lane, it was dead.  Hurray for Camera Phones!

As I walked, I couldn't help but think of my last trip.  DJ met me there, driving down from PA, and walked the entire battlefield with me.  The trip turned into a Photo Shoot, one of the best we ever did.

I was back home a little after noon.

I feel like I'm coming down with what Kady has.

Tuesday, 13 September 2022: Good Exercise

I had a great walk today.  It was my first day walking in my new shoes, the sun was shining, a nice breeze was blowing, and it was cool out.  Perfect actually.

The shoes helped a lot with my hip issue.  I can always tell when I need new shoes.

After picking up food for Kim and me, I went back out with my camera.  I walked to Tuscarora Creek and photographed everything that caught my eye.  I like most of the shots.

I used my new Monopod for the second time and it makes a big difference in the clarity of my photos.

Kady made steak tonight.

I think I'm going to Antietam tomorrow.

Monday, 12 September 2022

Jim's surgery went well.  It turned into a quadruple bypass.  The doctor said it went as expected.

We're back to Frederick for the week, helping E while A is fishing in Canada.  I came packed for a week, though I may go back on Thursday to watch Em if Jay feels like going to Brazilian JuJitsu.  If I need to do that, it'll mean coming back up here to fetch Kady on Sunday.

It rained on us all the way here, though not hard.  It made traffic slow.

I need a good walk tomorrow.

I watched House of Dragons S1:E4 last night.  I watched it again this morning.  This is a really good show but not as rich in characters or storyline as Game.

Saturday, 10 September 2022: Pay to Lose Saturday

It was a CRAZY day in College Football.  Alabama and Auburn squeaked by with wins.  Alabama was playing Texas which was a good game.  Welcome back Texas and Hello from your future conference.  Alabama was their own worst enemy with over 100 yards in penalties.  My personal opinion is that if you are penalized over 100 yards, the other team should be awarded 6 points.

Nick will hurt them next week.

Two of my childhood friends, Jim Lewis and Tom Saffles and their wives were in a car accident on their way to the game.  Tommy's wife seems to have taken the worst of it.

AU was playing what I hope is a very good San Diego State team and could not stop them.  It was the third quarter before AU got their collective shit together.  For most of the night, The Tigers looked more like the Keystone Cops, dropping passes, tripping each other, fumbling the ball, throwing interceptions, and blocking each other. They better be a lot more focused next week against Penn State.  They better be BETTER!

Other big teams didn't fair so well.  TAMU lost to Appalachian State, Marshall beat Notre Dame, BYU beat Baylor, Kentucky beat Florida, and Tennessee beat Pitt, All of which were predicted to go the other way by large margins.  I'm happy anytime TAMU and Notre Dame lose but this was simply delightful.

Next week, College Game Day will be at Appalachian State for the first time ever.  The celebration will continue!

I think we're seeing an unexpected result of the NFT Pay-to-Play Bull Shit. Is the Pride gone?  Were we watching Quiet Quitting on the field?  Are players scared that if they get hurt that they'll get fewer contracts?

Friday, 9 September 2022: News from Alabama

My brother let me know that he is having open-heart bypass surgery on Monday.  He'll take four weeks of medical leave from BSC.  Hopefully, this convinces him he needs to retire and slow down.

I watched Em tonight so Jay could take KS out to dinner before her trip.  It was pretty easy.  She played with friends until 1830.  I fed her her favorite meal and then sent her to bed at 1930.  We watched Heartland for a while and looked at photos in Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot.

It looked for a while like Kady and I would need to drive to Maryland to help E.  But by the time E got home from work, everything was fine. 

Wednesday, 7 September 2022: Shopping

I love Staples and Office Max; I can shop there for hours.  I think this comes from the most exciting shopping of the year as a kid - Shopping for the School Year.  This always meant New Clothes, Shoes, and School Supplies.  To me, there is nothing better than a good pen and pencil and a fresh notebook.

Well, the notebook inside my canvas cover, the bane of Cadets, was once again, used up.  This would happen once a year at VMI, filled with To-Do Lists, names and penalties for cadets, and notes for myself and for the staff.  I bought this one when I retired and it has taken almost four years to fill it.

After my breakfast and a walk, I cleaned up, put my bedclothes in the washer, and drove to Staples.  I found a new book that fits my cover (Tru Red Dotted Journal 5.5 x 8), a sketchbook, and some 2" x 1.5" Post-its that I use for Family Tree Research.  I stopped to see if there were any interesting pencils or pens but didn't find any that interested me.  I'm a big Pentel person.  I also like Zebra's 400 Series.

I filled the car at the new Sheetz on the way back to the house.  We may go to Maryland this weekend.

Monday, 5 September 2022: Not a Day

Kady and I agree - Today is not a day, we're not doing anything.

I have some clothes to fold but that's it.

OK, I have to wash my shower curtain but that's all I'm doing.

Oh, Look!  My office floor needs vacuuming.

The Kids left this morning, leaving the house empty for the first time in eight days.  It's so quiet.  Every time I leave their place, I forget something.  They make fun of me.  Today, THEY left their phone chargers.


I watched Elvis on HBO.  I was never a fan, but this movie is really good.  Highly suggest!

Sunday, 4 September 2022: Steak

How long has it been since I was last at Texas Road House?  We went today and I got a small steak, baked potato, and corn.  Amazing.

I had a short walk this morning and then we went downtown to walk about, see all of the wedding venues, and grab some lunch.  The Mall was covered up with people as were the eating places.  Location, Location, Location!  You can't go wrong with a restaurant down there.  We elected to drive back to 29 and Texas.  Good Call!

SGM is feeling bad and running a low-grade fever, probably from the shots she got before they left Frederick.  They plan to leave tomorrow morning.

I excused myself at 2100, went to my room, and watched House of the Dragon.  It just keeps getting better.  Love this show.

Saturday, 3 September 2022: Football Season Begins

I moved Aubie, My New AU Cap, and my Auburn blanket downstairs first thing this morning.  After my shower, I put on my "I May Live in Virginia but I'm Always in Auburn Country" t-shirt.  I'm ready.  SGM learned to say "football" this morning.  She's ready.  Kady and A have said that they want to watch ND vs. Ohio State instead of AU vs. Mercer.  Wrong Answer, but, I guess that they are ready too.

War damn Eagle!  All In.  Let's Go!

I have decided not to go to VMI for the Women's Reunion.  I don't need that in my life. 

Later - 

AU looked good though it is hard to tell, playing Mercer, how we will look when playing SEC teams.  Our first real test is Pen State in two weeks.  Kady, A, and E watched the Ohio State - ND game, instead.  Sacrilege!

A made Tacos for Game Food.  The pork didn't taste much like a Mex dish but it was solid.  I made a BBG Pork Soft Taco that was to die for.  It's a Thing!

At the Weather Delay, I went to bed.

Na, na, na, na. Hey, hey, hey. Goodbye!

I woke this morning to the welcome news that S. Williams was crushed last night, 6-1 in the third and final set of her career by Ajla Tomljanović.

If Williams is true to her word, we will never again have to see her ridiculous pirouette at the end of a win.  Tennis rackets everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief.

As you can tell, I never liked her.   Don't believe the hype; she was a bad actor.

Well . . . Bye.

Friday, 2 September 2022: Good Week, Good Weekend

Mitch left for Bama this morning.  I think he snuck out about 0200, wanting to beat the holiday traffic.  I wasn't worried.  He's a professional driver and drives hundreds of miles every day.  He called to let me know he was almost home.

E, A, and SGM came in last night, and Jay, KS, Em, and Ann stopped by for supper.  E plans on running the Charlottesville Women's 4-miler tomorrow morning, but I bet she doesn't.  I think she was enjoying being here for a long weekend of decompression.

Thursday, 1 September 2022: The Interview

Mitch and I took the day off from traveling.  We went for breakfast at Michael's Diner.  It was a good choice.  The coffee was good, my Bacon, eggs, and grits were perfectly cooked and the biscuits tasted a lot like my mom's.

Back at the house, we sat at the dining room table and talked about Grenada.  I recorded it to use as a reference for a story to include here.  Working!

In the afternoon, we went shopping for his Granddaughters.  Kady sent us to The Virginia Shop.  They have the coolest stuff there.  He picked up a couple of Virginia Love t-shirts and birth-month bracelets.  The folks were really nice there.

I got him hooked on Game of Thrones before he went to bed.

Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, 31 August 2022: The Clockwise War

Mitch and I had to go back to Monticello to get his pocket knife.  It was still locked in the locker up there where we left it.

After tour guiding him some more around Charlottesville, we took Highway 20 through The Wilderness to Chancellorsville Battlefield to see where Jackson was shot.  Continuing East, we took the Flank March route where Jackson took his troops around the Right Flank of the Union Army, rolling them up until he ran out of daylight and was shot.  We had a lot of "What If" discussions.

Next, we toured Fredericksburg Battlefield, Chronologically before Chancellorsville, but a more efficient route.  We walked the Sunken Road at Marye's Heights, Climbed up to Lee's Hill, and Drove to the Confederate right flank and Jackson's Position.

Lastly, we visited Guiney Station and the Chandler Plantation Office Building where Jackson dies.

Traveled out, we headed home.

Supper was at Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant,  normally perfect, but a bit slow on service tonight.

We watched House of The Dragon before calling it a night.

Tuesday, 30 August 2022: Mitch in Virginia

My Best Army Buddy, Mitch is visiting.  I'm having the best time.  I toured him through Lexington yesterday and had dinner at Jay's house.  Jay took the One Chip Challenge; I have never felt so sorry for anyone in my life.  Don't do the One Chip Challenge.

Today, Mitch and I had Turkish at Toured downtown Charlottesville ate at Sultan Kabab, and toured Monticello.  Tomorrow, we're going to Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Jackson's Flank March, Guiney Station, Yellow Tavern, and Hollywood Cemetery.  Thursday, we're going to Manassas.

I really loved Monticello.  Jefferson was a genius.  The grounds are beautiful, the house magnificent, and the staff super helpful and friendly.   I need to get Kim up there.  Maybe this Fall when the leaves turn and it cools off a bit.

About, Face!

I have run into a problem with my Chromebook and Chromebox while trying to use Snapseed.  My devices continue to freeze up when playing with my photos and Snapseed won't save my files.  I think it's a lack of power and the size of my photographs.

I unhooked the Box and set up my Dell XPS.  I'll use my Chromebook downstairs to surf and my XPS 15 Laptop for travel.

Damnit!  I was having so much fun, but photography is the main task on my computer.  You just can't beat Photoshop.

OK, Windows.  Treat me right.

Saturday, 27 August 2022: In Frederick

Kady and I left C'ville yesterday afternoon for Frederick to see E and SGM.  A is on a family fishing trip.

SGM is growing by leaps and bounds, though she still refuses to walk.  It's obvious that she could if she wanted to.  Her vocabulary is amazing and her sense of humor is finely honed,

She plays with me when I'm trying to photograph her, turning away as I'm about to release the shutter, refusing to take out her pacifier, and trying to put my lens cap back on the camera.  She thinks these things are soo funny.

We headed home about noon, arriving a little after 1500.

It was a short trip, too short,  but worth it.

SGM - adjusted with Snapseed

Friday, 26 August 2022: Working with a Chromebook/Chromebox

Small adjustments have to be made when leaving Windows.  One of my biggest problems was the Amazon Music App.  Since it is designed for phones and tablets, it fills the whole screen on top of all other windows.  I've been working with it.  This morning it hit me - BROWSER BASED!  Everything I do is on my browser, why not my music?  I checked, and sure enough, Amazon has a browser music player.  Done!

I'm not loving Snapseed but I like it better than Photoshop Express.  I'm sure I have a LOT to learn.

Thursday, 25 August 2022: More Things

Happy Birthday, 82nd Airborne Division!

Jay came over this morning to help me get the guest room closet doors out of the attic.  Once done, I took our giveaway stuff to Goodwill and then went to Lowe's for new hardware for the doors.

The doors looked like an easy job but turned into a pain in the ass.  By the time I had the new hardware installed, I was worn out.  The doors are hung, but not perfect.  Kady decided she wanted to turn them around so the best side would be out.  That sounded easy, too.    Silly me. 

The Chromebox/Chromebook plan is working.  I figured out how to switch between my primary site and my photo account.  Though not as easy as on a windows computer where I can have them open at the same time, this works nicely.  I've linked my two backup drives to it and have been playing with Snap Seed.  I know how to watermark my photos but can't do it without a touch or touch screen.  I might just stop doing that.

Wednesday, 24 August 2022: Timberwood Grill

Jay, KS, Kady, and I met at Timberwood Grill for lunch.  Oh My!  It was delicious! I had their Al Capone Burger (Grilled onions, Applewood smoked bacon, and smoked Gouda, topped with white truffle horseradish mayo and served on a pretzel bun.  I added mustard because it needed mustard.) and a three-bean salad.  

I'd go back for dinner if I could.  Why haven't we been eating here all along?  Hell, it is only two minutes from our house.

KS ordered General Tso's Cauliflower, which Jay explained was "like General Tso's Chicken, only with Cauliflower and not Chicken."  I responded,  "Thanks Buddy.  Is that why they call it General Tso's Cauliflower?"  My son is a hoot.  I tasted it and it tasted like Cauliflower with some sauce on it.  Not Good but better than plain Cauliflower, which ranks down there with Brussel Sprouts and Cardboard.  Kady had a burger and fries.  Her fries were amazing but I'll still get the Three-Bean Salad with a side of Three-Bean Salad.

After lunch, I unhooked my Windows computer, completely, and hooked up my Chromebox.  I needed to fore the move and force myself to figure out some issues I have with Interoperability with my peripheral devices like my scanner, printer, and external drives.  Weening myself off Photoshop will be the roughest.  Snapseed and I need to become close friends.

If this all goes well, I may revisit the Home Server idea for the windows computer.  Kady and I watched the Finale of Only Murders in the Building last night.  Good one, guys!  Give us more!

Tuesday, 23 August 2022: Emmylou and Mary

Last night, Ann texted me and asked if I wanted to go see Emmylou Harris and Mary Chapin Carpenter tonight.  Yes Please.  She bought two tickets, hoping, I assume a friend would go and that I was the last cookie in the jar.  Then again, it may be that I fed her cats for a week.

She picked me up at the house and, rather than stand in line to enter, we had dinner first at Otto Turkish Street Food.  W had the Chicken Ottobon which was really good.  Mary Chapin Carpenter was already singing by the time we were inside and in our seats.  Her set was well put together, including some new songs and her old standards.  Her band was amazing and the sound was mixed perfectly.  She ended with Down at the Twist and Shout, my favorite.

Uhhh . . . Emmylou Harris, not so much.  While we were there, she played nothing I knew.  There were times that she sounded off-key and struggled to find the tune.  Maybe she was just being artistic but it didn't work for me.  Her guitar player, piano player, and the guy who played the violin and mandolin were not that good in my opinion.   I sensed Ann was ready to go and when I suggested it, she readily agreed.

It was a really fun night. Ms. Ann is one of my favorite people; getting to spend alone time with her was nice.

Monday, 22 August 2022: Cleaning and Purging

Once I finished with all the scanning, I began purging CDs, DVDs, books, clothes, and junk from my room  My process was sound; I have a ton more room now.  I also put the Power strip for my computer back on the side of my desk with Velcro and then re-routed and organized all the cables.  I'm happier with it.  I'm about ready to put away my windows computer and use my Chromebox.  I may try that after Mitch leaves.

Friday, 19 August 2022: Summer Time

Last night, while scanning my B&W negatives from the mid-'90s, I ran across a series of photos that I took of my niece, sometime during that period.  She was about twenty-five and was living at her grandparent's home in Roebuck.

I under-exposed them and the light was Alabama at Noon harsh. The negatives turned out too dark and contrasty.

My fault.

I never got these right in the darkroom.  No matter what I tried, I couldn't save them.  Happily, I didn't throw the negatives away.

Enter the digital age!

I re-scanned them with my Epson V550 Photo, adjusting the settings of each photo to give me the best possible file with which to work.


Next, I worked on the one to the left with Photoshop.


I probably won't get much done today as I save four or five of these to put on my photo site.

Beautiful girl.

Thursday, 18 August 2022: Emotional Nonsense

I had a little episode last night.  I'm guessing it came from whiskey and all of the past memories resurfaced by the photo scanning.  When Kady called me to dinner, I went to the kitchen, where I became confused, disoriented, and emotional.

I'm sure her view of this is different, probably more correct.

I went to bed sad.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022: Last Scans

I finished with all of the prints and slides.  The originals are in the trash.  All are now saved on my external drive (N), my travel SSDD (Blue), and, my mirrored main drive on my primary computer (J).

The last things I have to do are my old black and white negatives from the 80s and 90s.  Some of those are classics, so I want to make sure I get them right.  That's a laborious and time-consuming process that includes, sorting, mounting, dusting, and then scanning at 1200 dpi so that I can enlarge them one day.

Oh Man, I got a little drunk tonight.  Kady read that if you add a teaspoon of distilled water to whiskey, it increases the flavor.  I found that it also increased its potency as well.  Two fingers of Jack gave me a serious buzz.

Save money; add distilled water!

Now, all I want to do is nap and it is only 1830.

We watched S2:E9 of Only Murders

Kurion Beach, Cyprus with my Mates

Rand, Claire, and Steve

Barney Emmett and Evie Leigh Johnson Lee, my Maternal Grandparents, at the Geiger House, around 1946


Sunday, 14 August 2022: The Scanning Continues

Man!  I thought I was finished, but I just found another box full of photos, plus, I have to still do the slides, both mine and Dad's.  It's a slow process but a lot of fun.  I've found some treasures.

Jim, my big brother (center), with his matching ivory-handled Roy Rodgers Colts, keeping the peace, Wahouma, about 1953.

I'm on the right,  texting.

Dad, home from the War, still wearing his uniform, about 1946

Mom out by Dad's "Vineyard," in Wahoma, about 1963

Mom at 18, with her new sister-in-law, Marth Ann, about 1947

Friday, 12 August 2022: I Hate Apple

I hate all things Apple.  iTunes and I have always had a fight going on. 

I've been playing my old CDs and they are amazing.  I opened the first box and started with Bryan Adams.  Holy Shit, what great music.  Next up . . . The Bangles.  It hit me.  Rip these and put them on your iPod, which was gathering dust in my electronics box under the bed.

If you want to put music on an iPod, the easiest way is to download iTunes to your computer.  Ah, but you have to remember your account password.  After going through the password recovery process, which had to include Kady as the primary account holder from fifty years ago, I got into my account.  THEN . . . I had to answer two "Security Questions," again, FROM FIFTY YEARS AGO.

Security Questions?  Do you Apple people still use Security Questions?  How Quaint!

Now, I know the name of my first pet and first car, but couldn't get both of them correct - spelling or wording, something, I don't know.

By the time I finally got in, I was entirely fed up with Apple, iTunes, and the iPod . . . AGAIN!  I Erased the iPod, deleted my account, and uninstalled the App on my computer.  I took the iPod down and gave it to Kady.  "Sell This!  I don't care if you only get $5."  Next, I went into Autofill to delete passwords for anything Apple.


Yeah, I know I'm half the problem but Ahhhhhhhh.  I feel better.  Hurray for Google, Autofil, Streaming, VLC, Edifier, a computer that still plays CDs, and Suzanna Hoffs.


I've been scanning photos all day.  My goal is to have them all scanned, backed up, and in the trash by Tuesday.  As I scan them, I'm categorizing them by family and person, so that I can separate them further one day.

It is a big job but I need to get it done.  It will free up a lot of space in The War Room.

Thursday, 11 August 2022: Bogged Down

Just before lunch, I picked up a box of cookies from Crumbl Cookies, and then went to the library and the post office for Kady.  Once done, I drove to Booker T. Washington Park to see the Bog Garden.

It sounded fun and looked interesting on their website, but, in person, it is a bit underwhelming.  An Albemarle Garden Club project, it looks like it hasn't been touched in years.  They put a lot of work into it, signage, plants, stepping stones, a boardwalk, and a bee motel, it's too bad it is so run-down.  This could be really beautiful with just a little work. 

The "Bee Hotel" looked mostly vacant, which usually means it hasn't been cleaned in a while.   Visiting the Bog Garden was a lot like seeing the "botanical garden" last week.

I'll visit it again in early spring.  Maybe I'll take my hammer and a few nails.

Poor Charlottesville.  They have such big dreams.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022:  Dive!  Dive!

I tried to kill my Pixel by taking it in the pool.  I swam a lap before I realized it was in my pocket.

Still works, though.  Google says to turn it off, dry it with a soft cloth, and lay it flat to dry at room temperature.  I let it dry all day long cranking it back up at about 1900.  It survived.

I won't do that again.

While my Pixel was off-line, Kady and I texted over Google Chat.  I liked it.

I feel much better today.  I even went for a short walk.  More tomorrow.

Saturday, 6 August 2022: Uugghh

My sore throat is gone, pretty much . . . 

But now I have a full-on cold.  I'm smarter than it is, though.  I've been always been a proponent of rinsing your sinuses when a nasal issue shows itself.  I rinsed this morning, twice, and That fixed That!  I took some DayQuil for the other symptoms and that did nothing.

This afternoon, I killed it.

I made some strong Earl Grey with honey and, once upstairs, poured in some Jack Daniels.  That worked wonders . . . or . . . I just didn't give a shit anymore.  So, I had another dose.

Friday, 5 August 2022: ACK

I now have Kady's sore throat and cold.  I'm gonna take a nap.  No more Brasco/Cat duties.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022: Dental Round Robin

I went to the Endodontist today to check my tooth.  They did a 3D scan, found nothing, saw no indicators of abscess, and said it was a periodontic infection (what I told everyone it was).  Then they charged me $231 for my piece of mind.  You're Welcome, Neely!

Feeding Brasco (now named "B-Rascal" by my Echo Dot) isn't too bad, but getting him to do what I want when outside is a struggle.  Today, his poo routine was interrupted by the dogs that we met everywhere we went.  I'm also feeding Ann's Cats.

Saturday, 30 July 2022: SGM at the Pool

We're in Frederick; drove up last night.  Today, we took SGM to the pool.

What a Great Pool and What a Beautiful Day.  It was warm out with a steady cooling breeze.  The water was cool but comfortable . .  refreshing.  SGM Loved it.  So did Mama, Dada, Key, and Baba.

The girl will try to say anything.  At breakfast, I told her to say Grandaddy.  Too Hard but she tried.  I switched Tactics.  I said, "Call me Baba. " She repeated it back perfectly and has ever since been calling me Baba.

At the pool, I tried to show her how to blow bubbles, but she was having none of it.  Kady (Ke) told her "Baba is Crazy."  Pretty as you please, the baby said Baba Crazy.

Great, another family member to take the piss out of me. 

My Grandbaby is Smart!  She also has the curliest hair I have ever seen.  I'm going to try and get a few shots of that before I leave.

E and I were supposed to play some tennis today, but she has a cracked rib or some torn cartilage  . . . or something.  Mer-mer-mer.

For supper tonight, we had a little Neel Family Fiesta.  There may have been some Jose Cuervo.  After SGM went to bed, the four of us played Wizards well into the night.  I suck at this game.

Wednesday, 27 July 2022: The End

I follow very few celebrities on Instagram.  One I follow because I worry about her.  Constance Wu is a troubled soul, beaten down by our societal ills, getting off of social media for a while, and then returning only recently.  Constance is beautiful, talented and from what I can tell, a very lovely person.  In her first post, this morning, she led her followers to a movie, in which she stared, I was a Simple Man.

This movie is beautiful.  It is moving, haunting, breathtaking, and thought-provoking. I enjoyed it very much.  All old men should watch it.

Yesterday, I took a different approach to my bug photography.  I went back to Ivy Creek with the zoom lens on my camera.  It made all the difference.  My photos were clearer because I was not enlarging and I didn't have to work as hard to get to my subject.  Nature was playing its part with loads of critters visiting the Wildflower Garden.

Fiery Skipper 

American Painted Lady

Steel-blue Cricket Hunter

Thread-waisted Wasp

Sunday, 24 July 2022: Birds, Bugs, and Butterflies

Wanting more butterflies or, at least, another shot at them, I drove back to our poor excuse for a Botanical Garden this morning.  I didn't have much luck, so I drove to Ivy Creek.

There is a butterfly garden there, smaller, but better.  This garden was a lot more active.  All manner of pollinators were visiting there, hornets, wasps, moths, bees, beetles, and a few butterflies.

Next, I tried the wildflower garden down by Hollymead Lake.  This is a true wild garden, allowed to grow naturally without seeding.  Not much is blooming there and I saw no butterflies at all.  I did flush four Goldfinches.  Gorgeous!

I saw more Gold Finches today than I have in years.  I also walked right up on a Blue Heron.  He was Great.

My insect photography needs work.  I shot with a 50mm lens and enlarged them, the benefits of a 45MP Nikon and great glass.   Next time, I'll try my 55-200 Zoom to get up close and personal without spooking my subject.

When I got home, I played with my drone a bit.  I have plans to use it at the cabin in October.  Right now, I'm a shit pilot.

Great Blue Heron

American Painted Lady

Cloudless Sulphur

Spicebush Swallowtail

Hummingbird Moth

American Goldfinch

Your Basic Bumble Bee


Back Off, Camera Boy!

Silver-sided Skipper

Saturday, 23 July 2022: Hot Butterflies

Today's main thrust for the two of us was a Butterfly Walk at the Botanical Gardens of the Piedmont here in Charlottesville.

After my walk, I cleaned up, answered a few emails, and collected everything for the event.  We dressed light, knowing it was going to be hot out.  We both opted for Cell Photos and left out cameras at home, a smart move.  I took bug spray and citronella bracelets which turned out to be highly necessary.  Kady brought water, just in case.

It WAS hot.  The real feel was 104F.  It was not fun out there.  Though the crowd looked fit enough, our "Certified Master Naturalist," Nancy, moved at a snail's pace, even in the sun.  Kady and I walked ahead, having seen enough butterflies and ready for the car air conditioner.

Nancy WAS very knowledgeable and friendly.

We saw most of the butterflies for the day at the Wild Flower Garden at the start point.  Imagine That!  We only saw about three different types the whole day.  I'm thinking most had gone to hide in some shady spot.

The Botanical Garden isn't much, now, but there are big plans if they can raise the funds.  Right now It's about as much of a "garden" as the trails I walk around the house, though the Wild Flower Garden is really a good one.

I looked up Certified Master Naturalist when I got home.  It's an actual thing.

Friday, 22 July 2022: Early Day

My body woke me up at 0400.  I felt great.  I had slept through the night and my tooth was only slightly sore.  That was a nice change.  Maybe the Antibiotics are working.

I got up, put on my walking clothes and shoes, ate a bowl of cereal, and then went walking at 0600. Man!  That's the time to go.  I was one of about three people out there and they were runners.  I had a brilliant walk, listening to Levar Burton Reads.  I have started listening to him more since the demise of Radio Lab.  

Radiolab has lost its Mojo.  They rarely put out new episodes and when they do, they are weak.  A perfect example is Neanderthal's Revenge.  After stating the initial premise that many of us carry Neanderthal DNA in our genes, the story was filled with a lot of speculation - Maybe this happened or this could have been the case.  Maybe it didn't.  Maybe it wasn't.  Who Knows? It was mostly bull shit.  Fluf.  I'm guessing the problem is that they are concentrating on The Lab, their membership platform.

Pretty soon there is going to be a consumer backlash directed at all of these streaming entities.  Netflix is already seeing the loss of over a million customers.  Next will be Disney and HBO.  Hulu, Paramount, and Peacock will follow.  Why?  We're all going to watch ourselves into the poorhouse.

So.  My radio came today . . . the first one I ordered.  As I guessed, it was misdelivered to another address and the people at that address opened it, realized it wasn't theirs and brought it to me . . . a month later.  Maybe they were away.  Maybe they are just lazy.  Whatever, I now have two identical radios.  I asked Jay if he wanted it and he did.  It worked out.

Kady and I both have itchy traveling feet. I've been begging to go anywhere.  Today, she told me about a cabin where she wants to stay.  It is always booked, but she found a week in October open.  On the river, secluded on fifty acres, and has TV and WIFI.  SOLD!  I'll post a link after we visit.

Thursday, 21 July 2022: Em

I didn't walk this morning; I didn't really feel like it.  At 0900, I went to Harris-Teeter to pick up my prescription of Amoxicillin, taking my first dose as soon as I got back to the house.  I have to take four pills a day for six more days.

Kady and I didn't go to the pool because KS called and asked if we could watch Em for about an hour.  For our trouble, she said she would bring us Jimmy John's.  As soon as Em got here, I told her to come up to my office.

The dance party began right away.  She introduced me to Kidz Bop Kids, by taking control of my Alexa Dot.  We took a break to play the guitar.  I taught her Em and D.  She did a great job, but after a while, looked at her fingertips and then at me as if I was torturing her.  I explained.  We went back to dancing.

She thinks my dancing is just fine.  She's still young.  I really enjoy my time with her.  She is so smart.

KS brought me a Thai Chicken Wrap.  Where has this been all my life?  Delicious!

Kady and I went out in the afternoon to mail some boxes, drop a book, take stuff to Goodwill, and ship a box from UPS.

I cleaned the War Room when we got home.  I don't say that lightly.  It's a big Job!

Wednesday, 20 July 2022: The Blue Ridge Park Way

I went to the dentist today to have my toothache checked.  He put me on Antibiotics again and referred me to an endodontist.  It looks like an abscess to him, so I may be looking at a root canal plus a crown.

I may opt for just having the tooth pulled, but, first, I'm going to see if the antibiotics work.  I'm taking Motrin for the pain.

I took the back way to BV, through Amhurst, and drove the BRPW coming back.  It was less enjoyable driving the Venza; Bess and I lived up there.  I drove all the way down to the tunnel and then traced my way back, stopping at nearly all of the Overlooks.  The trip brought back a lot of good memories - New Cadet Military Training FTX, Driving, Camping, and Photographing a lot of people.

I took a long break from driving at Boston Knob Overlook and took a lot of photos, then headed north stopping at the bigger Overlooks looking for the perfect Sunset Spot.  That, I discovered is still Ravens Roost.

Sunday. 17 July 2022: More Sissy

I'm not doing anything today, I guess.  I skipped my walk, my planned French Toast Breakfast turned out to be a bowl of Special K and a banana, and I've done no exercises.  Hey, It's Sunday!

I think I'll just watch more Sissy.  Prime has a lot of her movies for free.

"Who can bear to feel himself forgotten?" W. H. Auden  Me.

Saturday, 16 July 2022: Walking in the Rain

Like always, I checked the weather before I left for my walk.  Accuweather said it would start raining at 0800 but Illoke outside and it looked nice.  I left the house at 0715.  On my way back, at exactly 0800, it began to sprinkle and, quickly, became a downpour.  By the time I got back to the house, I was drenched.

Chalk-up a Win for Accuweather.

The rest of the day was spent watching Sissy Spacek movies.  While looking for photos to put on my new photo site, I ran across one taken of me with her at the Gods and Generals Premier in DC back in 2003.  I watched Carrie, first.  Though not a great movie, she does a good job carrying it.  Next, I watched Violets are Blue, a very good movie that she made with Kevin Klien.  I had never heard of this movie but loved it.  She was amazing.  When in the hell it is named Violets are Blue is beyond me.

Friday we went to Taste Shack to meet the kids for lunch.  It is still closed.  Very Strange.  We opted for Martin's Grill and I had the Tom's Ruben.  My Fave!

Thursday, 14 July 2022: It Wasn't My Way

After my walk and breakfast, I cut my hair.  It looks better.  The Robert E. Lee Look  that I had going on doesn't suit me.

I've been talking with Ryan.  I feel for her, a state away from her fam, with two little boys, and finishing up her divorce.  The guy in all of this will regret losing her; she's a great girl.  She's moving on quickly.  Her family helped her move into a new, bigger apartment.  I told her that for purely selfish reasons, I wish it were in Charlottesville.  True.  I miss her.

And I miss Catherine.  I texted her too.  She's so funny.

We stayed at the pool for over an hour today and were in the water most of the time.  We're both getting as brown as berries.

"Almost cut my hair.  It happened just the other day.  It's getting kinda long.  I guess, I coulda said it wasn't my way." ~ David Crosby

Wednesday, 13 July 2022: Back on Track

I walked this morning before it got too hot , then had breakfast.  That seems to be the best solution to the late morning heat.  At 11:30, Kady and I went to the pool.  The water was less chilly and we stayed in the pool almost the whole time.  After lunch, I went to the gym and had a good workout.  Kady made burrito bowls, which we ate while we watched Only Murders in the Building.  I practiced my Thai Chi after that.

It was a good day.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022: Guadalajara

Kady and I met Jay for lunch.  I tried the Fish Tacos which were sub-par.  No Bueno!  The conversation was a bit sad and stressful.

Tonight, I went Out Back for a cigar and whiskey.  That helped.  I acted like I was in Key West.  The heat was such that it felt like I was right there.  I even had a nice off-shore breeze, coming through the trees ahead of the thunderstorm.  It was very buggy out there.

Saturday, 9 July 2022, Kady-style Iron Skillet Pizza

Kady cooked another pizza yesterday.  It was, amazing, better than the first try.  I didn't think that would be possible but it was. One slice is a lot of food, so I only had three, saving three for today.  It may have been better this afternoon.

This time she used thick slices of fresh pepperoni.  It made all the difference.

The work on my photo website progresses.  I like the format.  Once I get a good representation of my work there, I'll change my business card to reflect the address and my Google Voice Number.  That way, when I see someone I want to photograph, like the girl at the Toyota place, I can card them and not look like some Creeper.

Thursday, 7 July 2022: The FOB

After much ado, the fob arrived, and the insurance company agreed to pay for it. This has only taken 2.5 months or something. Today, I went to get it done, but that's OK, they have good WIFI at Battlefield Toyota.  One of the girls there is an uncommonly beautiful girl.  She was dressed to the nines and sitting at a desk, right inside the front door.  The whole time I was there I thought about what a great photo subject she'd make.

Yesterday, I spun back up my Photosite and Photo Instagram. I need to take it slowly with new photos, not old photos from my primary site. I designed a new, undated, watermark. I'll type in the actual date of each photo once watermarked.

I'm staying with the People-Places-Things format. I think it works just fine . . . and I have no other ideas. I plan to post two photos of each person, place, or thing, with stories.


New Pages

The New Pages will look something like this.  A description of the page will go here.


My description or the story of the photo will go here.

Settings will go here.

Kady, KS, and I went to Alamo Theater to see Jurassic World Dominion last night. Cool Place. We sat on the second row in recliners while a waiter brought us food and drinks. I had the Omnivore Pizza, which was delicious. Kady's popcorn was good, and KS had Pineapple Upsidedown Donut Holes, which were spectacular.

The Movie, though panned by the critics, was big fun for the three of us; we're Jurassic Park Fans. I liked how they brought all the players back and how it all pieced together. The Plot was solid, with just the right amount of "save the planet" commentary.

Tuesday, 5 July 2022: Marisol

I made the huge mistake of going with Kim to watch Candyman at Jay's house.  What a load of Woke Shite!  This film turned the Candyman into a crusader, killing bad white people . . .white mean girls at school, white police, a white art critic . . . so many white people that I lost count. And, why?  Because Candyman was avenging all of the bad things that Whitey had done to black people over the centuries.

You can't even go to see a slasher movie without social commentary these days.

What a waste of my time.

Today, I had the windshield replaced just in time for the rain.  Filled up the car.

In more important news, I found something for which I have been looking for years.  I had a dream during my afternoon nap about buying a place to live in Key West.  When I got up, I began looking online.  Since I felt filthy rich in the dream, money was no issue, so I began looking at things over $2 Million.  At $3 Million, the place at 330 Julia Street looked familiar.  Holy Cow!  It was the Marisol Cigar Factory from the show Key West, Episode 12: The System.  I've been searching for this place for three years, intent on seeing it on my next trip.

When I told Kady, her reaction was less than enthusiastic.

Someone has really done a great job with it.  Now, all I need is $3 Million.

Sunday, 3 July 2022: The Terminal List

I finished The Terminal List this morning; it was super good!  Chris Pratt, Taylor Kitch (Tim Riggins!), and Constance Wu (gorgeous girl) were a great team, the storyline good, and the villains were perfectly despicable.  Jeanne Tripplehorn did some great acting.  The ending was perfect.

While cleaning out her desk, Kady found 16GB (2 x 8) of ram, which she and Jay pulled out of her old HP laptop or leftover from when they upgraded her All-in-one Desktop.  I installed them inside my 8GB Laptop.  Winner!

I read an article today about the recruiting woes of Auburn's football program.  I think our success is ranked behind Vanderbilt.  On the same page was an article about Auburn's new Plains NIL Club and Auburn NIL, which seem a little behind the power curve to me.  If we're going to pay players to play NCAA sports at Auburn, then we should have jumped on the bandwagon first.  I think this NIL shit is going to ruin college sports.  Watch!  in four years, no one will be able to compete with Texas Teams.  We'll see A&M rise to the top of the SEC, Texas will hire the best players in the nation, and SMU will probably come back strong . . . they KNOW how to do this better than anyone.  Why?  TEXAS MONEY!

Kady and I went to Jay-and-KS's for supper tonight.  KS made Stouffer's Lasagna and Kady's Salad.  Though all of the women in my family make their own badass lasagna we all agree that it is smart to save the trouble and cook Stouffer's.  So Good.  We were supposed to play games, but I don't think anyone was highly motivated.  They began talking about scary movies and renovation shows, which left me out, not my forte, but I enjoyed listening.  I live with funny folks.

Ann brought Dairy Queen Blizzards for everyone.  Girl Scout Thin Mint is back. 

Saturday, 2 July 2022: Ace Biscuit and BBQ

The family went to watch Em's Brazillian Ju-Jitsu class this morning.  It was a bit of a mess with little kids ruling the instructors.  Most were intent on learning, but there were three little hoodlums who I would have sent backing. Em did well.

After her class, we went to eat at Ace Biscuit and BBQ.  Blech!

I had a pulled pork sandwich, mac-and-cheese, and greens.  The pork was mushy, the sauce weak and watery, the mac-and-cheese tasted like Kraft, and the collards were soaked in vinegar.  

I tried Kelly's fried green tomatoes.  They need a lot of work.  If I knew the Ace Chef, I'd tell him to go to school at Sherry's Cafe in Trussville.  The same goes for their fried chicken.  I tried a bite of Kim's from her Chicken and Waffles.  So. Not. Good.  It made me ill.

I'm not going back there, ever.

Screen Capture of John Kontiras, with Janice Rogers,  cooking John's Steak on WBRC, Fox News 6, in Birmingham, from Nabeel's FB Page

Friday, 1 July 2022: John's Steak by Kady and John

Years ago (read: MANY YEARS AGO), Sally took us to one of her favorite places, Nabeel's in Homewood, Alabama.  Sal told me to try their John's Steak.  I did and it was the best steak I had ever eaten.  It had a slight lemon taste to it and a herb that I didn't recognize.  I got it every time I went to Nabeel's after that.

I have always wanted to try to replicate the tase on my grill, but, you know, forty years later, I never had.  A few weeks ago, I told Kady to get me some steaks and requested her assistance.  She's the cook, after all.

On Wednesday, this week, she told me she had found a recipe, and this morning, she told me she had found a link on Nabeel's Facebook Page where John cooked John's Steak on a TV morning show.  It was like finding buried treasure.

We cooked two New York Strips for lunch, and they were perfect, exactly like I remember Nabeel's John's Steak.

Thanks, John!  Thanks, Sally.  Thanks Kady.

No Run or Pool today.

I was out back most of the morning writing on my site and listening to Toad.  I'm trying to re-do my Kosovo/Turkey journal entries, using the META Data from the photos that I took.  It's working pretty well.  I lost those.

Wednesday, 29 June 2022: Damn, this water is Cold!

Great walk this morning.  It was beautiful and I ran into a beautiful girl down by the school.  I got a call from Kady who simply said, "Stop!"  I looked around and she was walking behind me, having gone the wrong way on Ashford after checking my location on Google Maps.

The Little Creeper - She knows where I am at all times.

We went to the pool when it opened.  The water was really cold from the night before, in the 50s.  I got in for about 15 minutes; she didn't get in at all.  But she is getting all brown.  So Cute!

Tuesday, 28 June 2022: Fun Kady Day

After my walk, Kady and I went to the pool together.  I had a great time and I think she did as well.  She made burgers last night, so I made one for lunch to go with my salad.  For dinner, she made a deep-dish, Detroit-style Pizza.  It was really really good.  The thing was almost two inches thick, with three kinds of cheese, and pepperoni.  I only ate one piece.

Only Murders in the Building dropped three episodes of Season 2 today.  Kady and I watched the first one tonight.  Cara Delevingne, who I believe to be one of the most beautiful women on the planet, is in this season.  She's just another reason to love this show.  Yes, I know she's gay, but I'm convinced that this is because she has never met ME.

Sunday, 26 June 2022: Toad The Wet Sprocket

Shit, shit, shit!  What am I doing with my life?  How did I not know that Toad has been releasing singles throughout the pandemic?

Today, WNRN played a song from the album New Constellation.  I was like, "Hey, I know that song.  That's my favorite group, Toad!"

I haven't listened to my favorite group since I don't know when.

I began listening to them back in 1993 when I was 1SG of Charlie 2-505.  One of my lads knocked on the door and complimented me on my music, though, he said, it was a little "dated."  I challenged him to bring me something new that he thought I'd like.

He introduced me to Toad.

I put listening on the back-burner while I watched The Widow, Episode 3.  Opening Amazon Music, I was presented with the singles, and I'm listening as I type this.

Good Stuff, Lads!  I'll catch up.

Saturday, 25 June 2022: Back to my Roots

At 14, I figured out that I could turn on the turn indicator, press the brakes, and I could sit in my dad's car and listen to the radio without the keys.  Dad thought this was pretty ingenious, so he allowed it, so long as I didn't run down the battery.  I think he was happy I wasn't playing it in the house.

I would sit out there for hours, divorced from my brothers, singing all the tunes.

That's what we did.  We listened to the radio . . . all the time.  We listened to WSGN, AM 610, in Birmingham.

Rick Dees was on WSGN when I was in High School.  WVOK wasn't cool.

At night, we could usually pick up WGN, AM 720, out of Chicago, a cool station back then.  It was our favorite "Parking" station.

Kady asked me what I wanted for Father's day; I told her a Radio.  I went searching and decided on an AM/FM radio made by Sangean.  The price was right, it looked good, and, I thought, if it didn't sound good, I could send it back.

The first one was lost in shipment, so we reordered.  It arrived while we were in Frederick.  Jay picked it up from the porch on his way home from work.

I set it up Friday night but began programming it today.  It is amazing!  I've been listening to it all day.  WNRN, FM 91.9 is my fave station.

Good Choice, Neely.

Friday, 24 June 2022: Fun Things

Last night, E&A gave me two Nest Drop Cams and a Google Nest.  I'll play around with them when I get home, looking to move the house to Google Home and away from the Nest App and Alexa.  I may leave the lights on Alexa.  Then again, Kady may nix the whole idea.

We'll be headed home around 1300, as soon as A get's home from work.  My radio is finally here.  This time, Amazon delivered it to the right place and I had Jay pick it up before it went missing again.

Before I left for Frederick, I put my room back in its previous arrangement.  Though I liked my Daybed and Desk in the center of the room, it was crowded, leaving no room to do abs or Thai Chi.  Lining the walls with furniture is my optimum solution.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022: Day-Date

Kady and I went to see Top Gun: Maverick today,  Wow, what a great movie!  

After, we drove to Frederick to keep Savannah tomorrow.  She's mostly recovered from an ear infection, but she still can't go to day-care.  I'm looking forward to watching her.

We should be on our way home Friday night.

Sunday, 19 June 2022: Let's Go

I'm back on my walking and diet routine.  Tomorrow, I'll add the Pool and Gym.  We'll also eat dinner at J&K's to celebrate Jk's birthday.

I had a tough night last night, with heartburn all night long.  I blame the soul food.

Saturday, 18 June 2022: Summer Slump

I HAVE to get back to walking and to the gym.

Today, we met Jay, KS, and Em at Dairy Market for lunch.  So far, the food I've had there has been un-remarkable.  I'm not a fan.  Today, I ate "soul food" at Angelic's Kitchen.  I had over-cooked fried shrimp, under-cooked hushpuppies, and a half ear of corn heavily coated in butter and salt.  Not Good.  Last time I had a sandwich from Take-it-Away.  I don't remember what I had and I just checked their menu and couldn't find it.  I remember it being unremarkable.

I had some cinnamon ice cream from the ice cream place (whose name I don't remember).  It was way good.  It was too much!

I came back home for a nap.

Friday, 17 June 2022: Kady's Birthday

SS cane in about 1230, driving his bike up I-81 in 97-degree heat.  Hero!  I picked up the cake at 1400 from Albemarle Baking Company.  It was beautiful and turned out to be delicious.  KS called to say their AC was out and that she was waiting on the repairman. Jay brought over the food and then returned with the family at 1800, AC repaired.

Had my plan been executed by the family, it would have been a real shit-show.  As it turned out, it went well.

About 1257, Amazon delivered my radio somewhere other than here.  My neighbor's ring-cam saw the truck pass my house and then leave two minutes later.  I looked on all of the porches in the neighborhood.  Radyo, Yok!

Thursday, 16 June 2022: A Star Trek Exposé

Well, this week, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds lived up to its name. Episode seven of Season one, The Serene Squall, featured this creepy little alien that looked kinda like a girl, but with all the mannerisms of a rail-thin, effeminate guy.

When I started watching the episode, my first response was to turn it off and Google what the fuck the thing was.  Certainly, it was the scariest monster/alien ever on Star Trek.

The entire episode was the perfect Exposé on just how stupidly far we've gone in this Strange New Country in the name of social equality and justice.  It was grotesque watching this little alien priss around on camera giving Spock advice on "being yourself" equating Spock's ancestry to its own sexual ambiguity.  I laughed out loud when Spock called the idea "Illogical."


Laughingly, the writers, though I'm sure they thought themselves very Woke and clever, made the alien a Villain.  It should be considered so for taking a part that should have gone to an actual woman.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022: Feeling Better

I felt pretty rough this morning.  It may have been that I slept too long.  I felt like I had a slight fever, my back and neck were both sore, and my stomach still felt upset.  After breakfast, I began to feel much better.  My strength was back.

I felt better and better as the day went on.

Kady and I ordered my glasses today and began looking at Progressive Sunglasses.  I began watching 1883 again and watched No Time To Die.

What else do I have to do?

Monday, 13 June 2022: uuuugh.

I feel like shit.  I'm tired, my stomach is queasy, and I ache all over.  I've been sleeping all day.

Sunday, 12 June 2022: Back Home For Some Weather

I have decided on my favorite route to and from Frederick - Highway 20 to 231, Highway 231 to 522, Highway 522 to 130, and Highway 130 to 15.  We went that way on Thursday and came back that way today.  It is a really relaxing and beautiful drive.

As soon as we got home, I unpacked the car, hit the shower, washed, dried, and put away my clothes, and then began re-arranging the War Room.  Why I've never thought about this before is beyond me.  I put my desk and the Day Bed in the middle of the room, back to back, with my desk facing away from the window, between the bookshelves.  I sit between the window and the desk, my books within easy reach.  The Day Bed faces the Chest, where I'm considering placing a TV.

I still have some arranging to do, but just minor stuff.  It looks pretty cool.

Saturday, 11 June 2022: Future Shock

Kady and E hit me with a huge surprise last night.  E and A are thinking about getting another Golden Doodle.  I was SHOCKED.  Even more shocking - I'm all for the idea.  The idea of a new puppy, walking him, training him, and talking to him, sounds so good to me.

Saturday, 11 June 2022: Music in the Village

E came home early with SGM yesterday.  After trying to put the girl down for a nap, which she fought for over an hour, we went for a walk, stopping by Plaza Mexico for dinner on the way back.  I had the Shrimp Tacos, which were great.

That's what I'll have from now on, SHRIMP TACOS!

Across the street is the central park at Wormans Mill Village.  During the Summer, the community host musicians there on Friday nights.  I couldn't see the stage from where I sat, but I could hear.  

The girl singing, Heather Aubry Lloyd, played a mean guitar and had a great voice.  After dinner, I went over and watched the end of her set.  I liked her stuff very much and her covers were nice as well.  She should be famous.

I'll probably go there every Summer Friday I'm in town, from now on.  Hell, the people were all my age.  Maybe I can make some friends.  Nah.  That's OK.

A comes home from his family fishing trip today.  We head home tomorrow.

Wednesday, 8 June 2022: South Mountain

Kady felt much better today and I didn't get the stomach flu that they have all had, so I went to South Mountain this afternoon.

I slept in until 10 am.  That was different.  I waited for Kady to get up and she practically pushed me out of the house, after I got her lunch.

The drive to South mountain was slow, scenic, and uncrowded.

I went to Turner's Gap first, took photos of the old church there, and walked the ground a bit.  

I went South to Fox's Gap where Reno and Garland, a VMI Grad, were killed.  I walked south on the trail to the North Carolina monument.

My next stop was to Crampton's Gap, then to Burkittsville, Middletown, and back to the house by The Old National Pike.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022: Handyman

"The Optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose." Kahlil Gibran

Yes, sometimes I complain about being away from home, but, when I am, I'm usually with my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter.

Sure, my daughter makes me work when I'm there, but it makes me feel like I'm helping her navigate her Army Mom life.

This time she has pretty much left me alone to do what I want and to do what I think needs doing around here.  I've watered, deadheaded, and pruned plants, carried out the garbage, recycling, and tools,  cleaned mops, swept the porch and the patio, washed dishes, distributed toilet paper, cleaned toilets, and picked up after an increasingly active toddler.

I'm useful.

This morning was the first morning that SGM has given me the time of day.  I sat with her at the table and ate my cereal while she had hers.   I repeated the words she said and began working on some more.  She seems to learn a new word each time we do this.  Today was Icky.  She was playing with a partially chewed Cheerio, and I said, " Icky."

She immediately said, "Ik"  Then, every time I said Icky, she ran her finger through the Cheerio.  So smart.

She still refuses to walk.  I think she doesn't want the responsibility.

Kady has been ill since Monday night.  I think she'll feel better today.

It looks like rain.  That's fine; I was able to get in my walk, the flowers need it, and I love the rain.

Sunday, 5 June 2022: Nothing Going on Here

I went for a long walk.  That's it.  I tried to watch the new Star Trek episode but fell asleep. 

Saturday, 4 June 2022: Day Two in Frederick

I got up a little late, but in time to have breakfast with SGM and then a coffee with E.  I went for a walk, crossing Monocacy Boulevard, and headed for Spring Bank Farm, one of the original houses in this area.  It was really beautiful and reminded me of Silverwood in Lexington. 

On my way home, I spotted a line of foreign sports cars in front of Plaza Mexico.  There were an MGB, an MGC, two MGBGTs, an MGT, a Jag XKE, a Jensen, and a Porsche 914.  I took a lot of photos of the cars and talked to one of the owners for a while.

I needed Pizza tonight and talked the girls into ordering Vocelli's.  Mine was great.  I love Vocelli Pizzas.

SGM is adding to her vocabulary every day.  In the last few days, she has added No, Book, and  Baby.  Today, she climbed the two stairs between the living room and dining room.  He hesitated for just a moment, climbed them, and chased after her mom.

She's still keeping me at arm's length but loves my dancing to Elmo's Dance Party songs.

Friday, 3 June 2022: Day 1 in Frederick

We all got up with the Baby, E at 0530, Kady at about 06, and I finally got up at about 0630.  The baby is still having nothing t do with me, but warmed up a little this evening.

E had a meeting this morning and went to work after that.  Kady and I went for a walk when she left and sat out back in the sun for a while.  It was great out there, sunny, warm, with a nice breeze blowing.  I nodded off and began dreaming about Basic Training in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina.  Though that was in the winter of 1976, the weather the whole time was warm and sunny, and there were days when we napped under the pine trees when the wind was cooling us down.

Tonight, I picked up food for them from Plaza Mexico.   The place was packed.  There was music in the park, so the park was packed too.

Thursday, 2 June 2022: Back in Frederick

I went for a walk this morning at 6.  It was cool when I began and hot by the time I got home.  I met Kim going out the door on the way for her walk.

After my shower, I made breakfast, filled up the car, went to the library for a book, and then picked up biscuits at Bojangles.

At 2 pm, we left for Frederick, taking our time on the backroads.  It was really beautiful.  Virginia is so green from all the sunshine and rain.  We got to the house just before E and SGM.

This baby is perfect!  She's so talkative and playful.  I think she'll be a comedian.

We'll be here for 8 days or so, while Andy is on a man-trip with his dad, uncles, and cousins, fishing.  It's nice that Elise wanted him to go.  He's been such a champ through all the things that have happened since the wedding.

Wednesday, 1 June 2020: Early Mornings

I set my clock for 0600 this morning and had an early walk.  It was already war.  Both Kady and I have been doing that all week.  It has gone into the 90s for the last three days.  As I was ending my walk, she was waiting for me across from the school.  We walked back together.

Once home, I began packing for ten days in Frederick, washed some clothes, and had my breakfast.  Kady went to have her hair done.

When she got back, we went to Bonefish Grill, one of our favorite places.  It Was Not Good . . . at all.  The bread was stale, the Bang Bang Shrimp was mushy (I think they served us the last of the shrimp in the pot), and my meal was only so-so.  Kady was unimpressed.  We're not complainers but we probably won't go back for a while.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022: Changed Plans

I drove to Lexington this morning for lunch, for an optometry appointment, and a planned to drive out to Colliersville for photos.  I got to Muchacho Alegre at about 1130 and had the fish tacos.  They were better than I remembered.  I have eaten fish tacos all over and these are, by far, the best.

It's amazing how fast you can eat when motivated.

My optometry appointment went well and the doctor said my field of vision has improved, there are no signs of cataracts, and my eyesight has not changed.  She wrote me a prescription so I could order new glasses and sunglasses.  I'm thinking Ray-Bans.

I decided not to go to Collierstown; there was nothing out there worth the trip.  Besides, my eyesight was too blurry to do more driving than I had to, and taking photos was problematic, so I drove slowly down State Road 252 to Staunton.  It was a smart move and a better, more beautiful drive.

Sunday, 29 May 2022, Starting My Summer

Yesterday I went to the cigar store and the package store for supplies, prepping for today's Out Back adventure with cigars, whiskey, and my music.  After sitting in the sun for 15 minutes, with Kady, I set it all up, filled the lighter, and got ready to relax.  The Kristoff Connecticut that I chose was not my favorite.  I may not buy one again.  The whiskey, Jack D, worked.  I had a good buzz going in no time.  This is my drug, but I need some ocean and a nice sunset.

Maybe the doc was right, my teeth feel better.

Goddamnit, I need some beach time.  Let the planning begin.

A strange thing happened:  I got a friend request on FB from this lady who looked really familiar, in an older sort of way.  Against my new rules, I accepted.  As I looked at her feed, I realized it was a former WHS Majorette, a junior when I was a senior.  super hot then, hot and well kept now.  I kept her on my friend list to see if she would say something, but she never did, so I unfriended her.  Still, it left me wondering why she friended me, and in what alternate reality did WHS Majorettes friend me on FaceBook?  I'm guessing she may have been a friend of Kathy Couch, one of her classmates, or Vicki Garrett, a sophomore Majorette, two girls that I dated for a short while.  I have no time for that kind of thing.  WHS is finally in my past.  I just don't care.  

She sure is pretty though.

Saturday, 28 May 2022: Dental Craziness

I went to the dentist yesterday afternoon.  I've been having some dull pain when I bite down.  After an x-ray or four, He decided I had a sinus infection, which I'm not sure if I buy.  But, he's the doc.  I'm taking his anti-biotics.  Chance I Have to go back?  Fifty-Fifty.

I had a nice walk this morning.  The goslings were out and getting big.  There were three family groups, all within a few feet of each other, all with four babies each.

Things I think we can learn from Geese:

Thursday, 26 May 2022: Yawn

Yesterday, I walked.  Today, I hit the Gym.  That's all.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022: Scheduled Maintenance

I took the Venza in for an oil change and tire rotation, all complimentary.  It was a wet but easy drive.  I love Battlefield Toyota.  Still no word on the Key Fob replacement.

A little after 1400, I got a text from Ellen asking what I was doing.  She was driving on I-64 from Hampton and wanted to stop by.  We went with her to Sultan Kabab, and as quickly as she was here, she was gone again.

While we were out, I got a call from Roger telling me he was headed for Tampa.

Sunday, 22 May 2022: Visiting a Friend on the Way Home

I left Cullman at about 0545 Alabama time and headed West.  My only stop headed home was a little chapel, Hunt Chapel, near Collinsville, Alabama.  I was going there to see my Brother's ex-girlfriend, Linda Anderson, a beautiful girl who I thought would be my sister-in-law.

The whole family loved Linda and everyone was shocked when Jim broke up with her and started dating a . . . well . . . someone less.  A Lot Less.  I was definitely Team Linda and never liked the next one, even when he married her.

I went looking for Linda a few years ago, discovered her Facebook page, and then found out from her niece that she had died in 2012.  I was late.

I promised myself that I would visit her gravesite.  It took a while to find her obituary, but when I did, I put the location on my list of Alabama things to visit.  This trip was my first opportunity.

Once at the Cemetery, it took me a long time to find her; her little stone is on the far South-West of the cemetery, among other Anderson graves.  It was overgrown and covered with sand, so I cleaned it the best I could, threw away the dead plant, cleaned up the miniature rose bush, and stood up the little angel that someone had left there.  Overall, I thought it a sad reminder of such a pretty girl.  It made me wonder about how happy her life had been.  Is there no one in her family left to visit her?

The last time I saw her was when she came to see me at Wind Creek State Park where I was camping with Carey Martin.  She wanted to tell me, personally, about the break-up; that's how close we had become.  She was the closest thing I ever had to a big sister.  She kept in touch as she finished up nursing school and invited me to Chattanooga to visit when she moved away.  I never went (read: Emmette and Nita wouldn't let me) and we lost contact.

I asked her niece for a photo but never got one though I sent her the photos that I had from Dad's collection and the ones I took at Wind Creek.

That I never received or found a photo of her in later life seems fitting, I think.  I will always remember her as the beautiful 18-year-old who cared enough about me to drive all the way to Alexander City to tell me the bad news.

The next time I'm traveling down I-59, I'll visit her again, only better prepared with flowers and a broom.

My drive home was tiring.  I-81 was wall-to-wall trucks from Salem to I-64.  In the stretches with three lanes, the trucks were in all three.

I was happy to get home, but I would have driven to California for Mitch and Marlene Pigg . . . and Linda Carol Anderson.

Saturday, 21 May 2022: Mitch and Marlene

I'm in Alabama.  Mitch called me yesterday to tell me Marlene, his wife, had died.  Her funeral is today.  I jumped in the car and drove all afternoon and evening, arriving after midnight Alabama Time.  So, I'm in the Hampton in Cullman.  The funeral is at Destiny Church at 1400.

Poor Boy!  I can't imagine being in his shoes, losing the girl he's been married to for over 40 years.  I don't want to imagine that.

The drive down went smoothly until I got to Alabama, and then Google Maps took me through the Alabama countryside, down roads where the speed limit was 40mph, for miles . . . and miles.  Nothing goes slower than driving in the dark at 40mph down Alabama country roads.  I was super happy with the car.  It got great gas mileage, handled well, and had the pick-up with which to merge onto the highway.  My phone and Android Auto are fighting again.  It worked well in Virginia, but after stopping at the Tennessee welcome center, it began cutting off and re-setting.   Mid-Tennessee, it wouldn't stay connected at all.  I had to navigate the rest of the way by holding my phone.  NOT GOOD.

I should have brought my pretty little navigator/traveling partner, but she's still recovering from, what we found out was a sinus infection.  I headed to Walmart to buy a cable adapter and a car-phone mount, after a very unsatisfying Hampton Inn Breakfast. I should have gone to Cracker Barrell, which is within walking distance.  At Walmart, I bought a short cable and some velcro instead of a car mount.  The short cable seemed to work.

When I stopped for gas in Tennessee, I was immediately approached by a very dirty and strung-out girl in her thirties.  She asked of she could ask me a question.  I said, Yes.  Then she begin her sob story - she didn't have a license and didn't want to get in trouble for driving without one, blah-blah-blah, so on and so forth.  I stopped her mid-sentence.  "Stop!  Get To The Point!  What do you want?"  "I was wondering if you had a few dollars you could spare."  I almost yelled at her, but put on the aggressive SGM face, "NO!  Go Away!"

She almost ran.  A few seconds later, I saw her approach two young girls with pink and green hair.  "Can I ask you a question?"

Afterward, I began to think about how she had approached from the rear of the car and how she took my focus completely away from my own safety and the security of my vehicle.  It is a wonder I wasn't clubbed in the back of the head by some druggy boyfriend.

The memorial service was good.  The scruffy guy was my favorite of the two pastors.  He had a fire in his belly and really brought his message home.  The older guy was more laid back.  Whoever chose the music needs to sit down with me for a chat.  The tunes chosen were s heart-rending that they basically ripped your feelings out of your soul and stomped them on the floor.

There was no follow-on event, so I went to Jim-N-Nick's BBQ for Dunch.  I had the brisket, potatoes salad, and baked beans.  I also had their muffins, which are the best thing on the menu. 

Mitch picked me up and took me to his house.  I met Tabatha, his niece (gorgeous girl), their husbands, his uncle, and the lady who lives on their property.  He and I sat over in a corner and talked about old times.

Thursday, 19 May 2022:  Full Day

I began my day over at Jay's house, walking Emmy to the bus, then walking around the block with KS, and then having coffee with them both.  KS did well on her first walk.  We took it slowly and kept the distance short.  I could tell she was favoring her right side just before we got back in the house.  She shared her Krispy Kream coffee, which was good.  Jay made his normal Decaf Drip. 

On the way back home, I got Kim and myself a Bojangles biscuit and then went for a longer walk.  When I got to the one-mile mark, I got a Duo call from E and SGM.  I sat on a bench, under a tree, and had a good long chat with them.

Kady went to the doctor for her annual checkup.  Everything looks fine but had a prescription for antibiotics in case she has a sinus infection.  I hope this helps.  She's been pretty miserable for the last six weeks.  After her appointment, we went to Wendy's.

Sal texted to check-in and to send me a video of Rosalee singing Gory, Gory, the old paratrooper song.  Pretty adorable.

Monday, 16 May 2022: Highly Motivated

As of this morning, I weigh 235lbs.  That's down front 244 after visiting E for SGM's Birthday and a pound less than I have weighed in two years.  I did it by being more faithful to my Intermittent Fasting program for two weeks.

I've walked every day since getting past the infection and did 4 miles this morning.  It was so muggy that I was soaked in sweat.  It felt so good.

Kady still feels bad, but swears she's going to have a "normal" day today.

Friday, 13 May 2022: Stormy Weather

Everyone seems to be surviving with mild or no symptoms.  SGM can't get any sleep because of her cough.  Kady is having trouble sleeping.  E has some congestion.  The others, including me, are asymptomatic.

I've walked the last couple of days, short, but nice.  I even cooked out kebabs on the grill, yesterday.  Kim did all the work.  All I did was stab everything with our fun Turk skewers and cooked em up.  Delicious!

Today and the weekend are supposed to be wet and stormy.  I like stormy.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022: Glamping Day 2 - COVID

I was up about  0600.  After a breakfast of grits, eggs, and a nice coffee, I got a text from E to come over to the RV for more coffee.  I took what I had left.

After cleaning up, we went for a walk.  I walked the little bit of beach we have here, but it sure isn't like walking on Panama City Beach.

After lunch we got a text calling for a family meeting, outside the RV - SGM tested positive for COVID last night.

So, Everything kicked into high gear when we found out that Krista's Car was ready.  We packed the cars in record time, drove to Pep Boys for the car, and were headed in three separate directions, headed back to our respective homes, except Al and Barb, who will stay with Krista until they see what happens.

Kady and I were back home a little after 1800.


A's parents and sister tested positive.  A & E tested negative.  SGM is feeling so much better.  Kady and I are staying in and ordering what we need on Walmart Delivery.

Monday, 9 May 2022: Glamping Day 1 - Car Trouble

Kady and I stopped at Brickhouse Pub at Port Warwick, Norfolk, for a lunch of Jose Wings, a favorite.  Then, we met E and A at Harris Teeter for supplies.  While there, we got a call from Al, Barb, and Krista - they had car trouble.  We linked up with them, cross-loaded their stuff to the trailer, and Al jumped in the car with us.  We continued with the plan while A and E took Krista's car to Pep Boys for repair.

We all made it to the campground, well before dark.

SGM was running a fever so A and E took her to urgent care.  When they got back, the baby looked much better after some Motrin. 

I went to bed early while the others had dinner.

Sunday, 8 May 2022: Better

I woke in a heavy sweat Saturday morning, feeling better than I had all week.  Everything was working better, and my trips to the bathroom were less frequent.  I even drove for food for Kady and me.

This morning I packed for the beach, still feeling much better.  I went to BoJ's for biscuits and did a few small things around the house, getting ready for next week.  The trip isn't looking much like a beach trip; the weather is going to be cloudy and cold all week, so there'll be no swimming, no sunning, and very little outside time.  To make matters worse, the baby is running a fever as of today and the kids are weighing their options.  I'm guessing there's a 50% chance we cancel all together and just stay at home, and to hell with the money.

This is a bad plan and I don't see it coming anywhere close to slaking my thirst for warm sand, ocean waves, and sunrises or sunsets, while smoking and drinking.  I'm going to have to make my own plan.

Friday, 6 May 2022: It's Friday Already?!

The last three days have been a blur, a constant back and forth between napping and dashing to the bathroom.  E. coli!  My NP says the lab came back and that's what it is.  The anti-biotics are working, though slowly.  Kady had me take some AZO and that was amazing.  If I could just get some sleep!

I was able to watch DEVS on Hulu.  Loved it.  I'll watch anything with Nick Offerman and Alison Pill in it.  

I'm deep into The Korean War by Marguerite Higgins.  I discovered Maggie when I searched for the Aggie O'Shea, a female war correspondent on M.A.S.H.  Played by Susan Saint James, Aggie arrives in an ambulance, nursing the wounded, and almost immediately falls for Mike Farrell's B. J. Honeycutt.  It's a great love story, not for Aggie and BJ, but for BJ and his wife and family.  It is one of my favorite episodes, maybe THE FAVORITE.

I was happy to find that Aggie was based on Maggie, who was every bit as cute as Susan.

I love her writing style, patriotism, anti-communism, and courage.  She died at 45 from a disease contracted when she went to Vietnam to cover that war.  She's buried in Arlington.

Tuesday,  3 May 2022: Rough Night

Man, I was up and down all night, shivering, achy and other symptoms I won't share here.  I went to my doctor, actually a nurse practitioner, and she said I had an infection and proscribed an anti-biotic, twice a day, seven days.

No Kidding . . . I had Kady pick me up some adult diapers. 

Nap Time.

Monday, 2 May 2022: Back to my Routine . . . as best I can

I've been such a good boy today.  I delivered KS to Physical Therapy, Hit The Gym, Grabbed Kady a breakfast at BoJ's, and went for a walk.  It may be time to begin walking first.  It was 77-degrees at 1030. That'll be the teas - will he actually go to the Gym after walking.


Lunch was at Dairy Market, a very cool Charlottesville destination for food, packed into the old Monticello Ice Cream factory building.  I had the Full Cuban from Take It Away and it was more than I could eat.  It was fantastic, but the bread needed to be toasted on the outside.  It was a bit mushy.  I plan to cook the second half in the Waffle Iron to press it down nice and flat.

Back home, while the kids played Catan, I napped.  We went to Jay's for dinner, Taste of China, all the tastes.

Weekend, 29 April - 1 May 2022: SGM's Birthday

Friday, I picked up Kathy at Dulles.  That was a breeze.  SS arrived on his  Harley from Tennessee.  So Cool.  I really-really want a Bike.  LR, BT, and ST arrive from Atlanta.

Buck made Steak Tacos and Corn, with all the trimmings, all homemade, for dinner.  It was fantastic.  We all agreed that he needs a food truck!

Saturday -  First thing Sunday morning, BH, HH, and A picked up the balloons.  Lots of them.  Since they were not ready, we went to Panera Bread for breakfast.

Krista, Al, and Barb joined us on Sunday for the Birthday Party.  The girls from Day Care also came..

Sunday - I had a 0330 start, taking Kathy back to Duller, after which I took a nap.  We went to Plaza Mexico.  We drove back to Charlottesville right after.

Thursday, 28 April 2022: Maryland

WE drove 29/15 through Lucketts this morning, eating lunch at Roots Café and Market,  After lunch, we took HH and BH to Lucketts Store for a look around. Frederick, Burgers.

A made burgers on the grill.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022: Buck and Heather

After taking KS to her PT session and working out at ACAC, I picked up Buck and Heather at the Charlottesville Airport.  They arrived right on time and texted me to come forward.  We met Kady, Jay, KS, and Ann at Taste Shack for dinner.

Monday, 25 April 2022: Spring Cleaning

Kady's on a tear.  In preparation for her Niece's visit on Wednesday, she's cleaning the house, top to bottom.  It doesn't need it as she is a very fastidious housekeeper, but she's cleaning anyway. Good Impressions and all that.  I told her to make a list of the things I could do to help.  My list included the front porch, Swiffering the hardwoods (stay out of the kitchen), vacuuming the carpets, and cleaning the hall bathroom (that's the one I use and a constant mess).

After my walk, I took on the porch, sweeping and hosing it off.  Then I washed down the plant stand, pots, and lanterns.  Next, I tackled the hall bath.  I was surprised.  It wasn't that bad.  Swiffering the stairs was easy.  I'm saving the downstairs Swiffering and vacuuming for tomorrow.

I ordered an English Translation of A Season in Hell by Arthur Rimbaud which came in today.  I spent a little time with it this afternoon.  If you've seen Eddie and the Cruisers, you'll understand why I've meant to read this for years.   This kid was seriously twisted.  The collection seems to be a lot of pseudo-intellectual, adolescent crap, written by a  malcontented little prat, but I will continue to read.  Why am I reminded of Catcher in the Rye?  If you know me, you know my loathing of that piece of junk.

Sunday, 24 April 2022: Doing the Things

I washed the outside windows yesterday using Windex Outside (of course).  That shit works.  Screw the bottle to the hose, set it on rinse, and then spray.  Set it on wash, spray from bottom to top for ten seconds,  Wait 20 seconds, thoroughly rinse and then rinse some more. Poof, Clean Windows!  The stuff even works through screens.

Jay came over today and installed a new vent fan and light in the Master Bath.  Sounds Easy.  It wasn't.  The boy was soaked head to toe in sweat.  I had a great time handing him things and listening to him talk shit to wires, ducts, screws, and such.  After, he patched the ceiling from the last fan replacement fiasco.  All I have to do now is sand, paint, and reinstall the cover.

After he left, the new Crucial  DDR4 2x4GB RAM cards came in the Post for my Chromebox.  I upgraded to 8GB, hoping it would make the machine fast enough for decent quality DUO Video streaming.  It Should.  Pages load much faster now.  I see no real difference in the Chromebox (which needs a name) and my old Dell (Starship).

"Post!"  Hahahaha.  Brit Speak!  Still sneaks in every once in a while.

Friday, 22 April 2022: Bad and Good

With every bad thing that happens, comes a good thing.  I'm a firm believer in silver linings.  Today is the anniversary of one of those happenings, the death of RSM/2BC Eric.

I don't think about it much; it makes me angry.  His was a preventable death.  Had one person taken the appropriate action, Eric would have survived this day, those years ago.  Was it eight?  As sad and as horrible as it was, I gained a friend, Ashley Ryan.  She and I remain close to this day and she remains one of my favorite people; I consider her one of my Best Friends.

She texted me this morning to check on me.

I need to drive to NC to see her.

After my breakfast this morning I had a virtual coffee with PBG.  We talked for over an hour, continuing our convo after running into each other in Lexington.  Our chat was very troubling.  I feel for her and her messed-up life, but I can't let it invade mine.  I'm not sure what she wants, but she wants something.  It is sad that I have to be so suspicious, careful, and impersonal when it comes to this person.

Before my walk, I did a Target Pick-up for Kady.

I spend a bit of the afternoon working on the first two movements in Tai Chi.  I think I have them down pretty well.  In the evening, Kady made Tacos.   Yum.

Thursday, 21 April 2021: Battlefield Toyota

I got up early this morning and drove to Cuppepper to have the molding replaced behind the right rear seat.  Battlefield Toyota took the Venza right into the shop and had it done in about an hour, working off a recall that we hadn't been notified about in the process.  The waiting area is really nice as are the staff.  These guys are great.

I was home before 1000.  The weather was dreary so I didn't walk or go to the Gym.  I feel like a slug.  Tomorrow, Both!

I started watching HBO's Barry on Jay's recommendation.  I'm hooked.

Wednesday, 20 April  2022: Tasker

I took KS to her P-T appointment at ACAC this morning at 0900.  I hit the gym while she was there, which was a lot less crowded than I guessed it would be.  After taking her back home, I went for a walk.  Simple Day.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022: Two Left Feet

I went back to Tai Chi yesterday and we practiced Movement #10: Wave Hands like Clouds.  It crushed my soul and made me realize what I've always known - I'm a clutz!  It also made me want to quit, but I'm not going to do that.  I've found the Twenty-four movements on Youtube and plan on practicing every day until it clicks.

Be a  Tai Chi Jumpmaster, Neely!  Hands, Feet, Breathing, and Eyes working together as a Team.

Kady and I are still in C'ville; she's still feeling shitty and has been in bed for almost a week.  She was up yesterday but is back in bed today.  Poor baby.  She refuses to go to the doctor.

I took Coffee over to Jay and KS's house this morning for a coffee date with them and Ann.  I enjoy that so much.  I'll begin taking KS to her physical therapy appointments tomorrow.  It took a little convincing Jay to let me do that; he's always so worried about inconveniencing us.

Saturday, 16 April 2022: More Than One Thing

After Breakfast, Eggs and Grits, thank you, I went for a nice long walk.  I took the wooded path below Turnberry Circle, following Powell Creek, to Baker-Butler School.  Reaching the end and wanting to continue in the woods, I backtracked until I found a crossing and then followed Powell on the other side,  I came out well down Ashwood Boulevard.  The walk back from there is long and hilly.

All totaled, I walked 5.4 miles.

It was nice out.  The trees are coming in and the wildflowers are blooming.  There was a breeze keeping things cool and the birds were singing up a storm.  I'm amazed by birds.  My new hearing aids really make a difference.  After Lunch, I filled the car, took it through a car wash, and picked up Jimmy Johns for Kady.  I had a salad.

I'm really trying to watch how much and what I eat, and eat more rabbit food.  I'm trying to get the Intermittent Fasting thing going again, but it is a struggle.  I like to eat far too much.

Going to Maryland isn't looking great right now; Kady isn't feeling well.

Friday, 15 April 2022: KS Surgery Day

My walk this morning was about three miles.  The weather was perfect and I enjoyed myself, but I mostly thought about KS along the way and what she would be enduring in the next few months.  She had surgery on her right hip today.  It went fine, but recovery and physical therapy lie ahead for her.  She has to stay completely off of it for about 6 weeks.  That'll be tough.

I took my first class of Tai Chi at the gym today.  It was tough going trying to do the movements with my shoulder, but I think it will help.  I'll go again next Wednesday and then Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday,  each week after that.  I told Sally that I felt like " a tone-deaf kid at the grammar school talent contest or the uncoordinated kid with two left feet at the dance recital."  I liked it though.  Certainly, I was among my people.  I like the instructor.

I met Em at the school bus stop after school, while Jay drove KS home.  They passed me as I waited.

Back home, I felt more tired than I probably should have after one session of Tai Chi; I napped sitting straight up in my office chair.

Thursday, 14 April 2022: BV to Lexington

My twice-yearly dental appointment was today.  I left for Buena Vista with plenty of time to get there by 11.  It went well, with no problems, and my hygienist had little work to do.  I must be keeping them pretty clean.

After, I drove to VMI for some photos and a hat.  When I left, I got rid of all of my VMI Hats, and now that I'm feeling more nostalgic about the place, I thought I might find another I liked in the bookstore.  Nope.  Crap Hats.

On my way out of the bookstore, I ran into Kevin, who didn't recognize me, though I stopped him and shook his hand.  As I walked away, I heard him yell, "Sergeant Major!"  It had obviously dawned on him who I was.  We had a good chat in front of the Commandant's quarters, who came out and introduced himself.

Once downtown, I parked on Main Street and walked around the town taking photos. I ran into PBG, an old friend from the Silverwood days.  We sat at a picnic table next to the car and caught up.  There is still a whole lot of CRAZY there and her lack of veracity was on full display.  Her life is still a mess.

For lunch, I went to Matsumoto Sushi and had Philadelphia Roll, California Roll, and one the chef called This Is How We Roll, which was the best thing I've had in a long while.  I also had Edamame.

I tried taking a different route home, using Highway 608, but made a wrong turn at Highway 56, ending up on Highway 11.  Next time I need to download the route for offline use.  There are a lot of dead spots in the cell coverage out there.

It was a fun day.

Weekend, 8 - 10 April 2022: Up in Maryland

Friday, Kady and I drove to Maryland.  This was the first long trip in the new car.  Boy,  it is rude.  With the lane-keeping equipment turned on, it complains by bumping the steering wheel when you are not in the center of your lane.  I'm never in the middle of my lane.  I like to hug the inside line so that I can see ahead, past any car in front of me.  It also complains if you change lanes without signaling.  I signal when there is someone affected by my lane change, but not if there is no one to see it.  It doesn't matter to this car.

I turned off that feature.

The cruise control also takes some practice.  There are buttons everywhere.

Kady is driving home so I can make fun of her as she did me.

Saturday, we went to Madrones for lunch.  I had the Jambalaya and Key Lime Pie.  The place was nice, the wait staff cute, and the food delicious.  I'll go again.  Next time, I'll get the Shrimp and Grits.  After, we drove to Gettysburg to pick up E's Race Packet and then drove around the roads to Raven Rock.

Sunday, Kady and I babysat SGM while A took E to run her race.  It was a hoot.  I played down on the floor with her for a long time, watching her little mind move from one toy to the next.  A & E got back a little before noon and A made hotdogs.  

Kady and I were on the road home by 1330 and home by 1600.  I drove with the lane assist Sport Mode on, which made the backroads much more fun to drive.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022: Game Changer

I picked up my hearing aids today; they are amazing.  The fitting process was super interesting.  The Doctor put a harness around my neck, inserted the aids, and I sat in front of a speaker that played sounds and voices while she calibrated everything on her computer.

As an indicator of how well they work, Kady and I watched tennis on the tube.  She had the sound set on nine, but I could hear every word.  Usually, she must turn the sound to about forty for me.

Outside, I was most excited by the birds chirping.  I can hear Mocking Birds and Blackbirds.  I haven't heard smaller birds like Chickadees, Nuthatches, and Finches for years.

My voice sounds different, my footfall is LOUD, and I can hear conversations across the room, even with background noise.

The funniest thing is that I still have a habit of asking Kim to repeat something I hear clearly.

Monday, 4 April 2022: Culpepper

As I promised Kady that I would, I left this morning for Culpepper and Battlefield Toyota to see about having some undisclosed damage in the back seat of the Venza repaired.  I love this Toyota place; it was well organized and clean, and the employees were friendly, happy, helpful, and wore a uniform.

It was a welcome contrast to Umansky Toyota.  Visiting there was like visiting Ukraine after the Russians pulled out.  Shit is everywhere, they have no signage, and cars are parked haphazardly all over the lot.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to that dealership, making me wonder about their leadership.  I will happily drive the 35-minutes to Culpeper to have my car serviced.

After organizing the repair process with them, I drove to Cedar Mountain Battlefield for another visit.  It was one of the first Battlefields I visited after retirement.  I've learned a lot about the battle since then.  Today I only wanted to take some photographs.

This battle was the first battle of the Northern Virginia Campaign, taking place after The Seven Days on the Peninsula.   Jackson Corps defeated Banks, sending him and his army scurrying toward Washington.  After this, Lee, Jackson, and Longstreet defeated the Yankees at Second Bull Run and met them again at Chantilly.  These three battles set up Lee's invasion of Maryland and the Battle of Antietam.

After photographs, I drove through Culpepper, down Main Street looking for another few photos, but was uninspired.  I wasn't impressed with their Main Street, but it is probably worth another look at the town.

It was good to spend some time alone driving the car.  That's the only way to learn.

Sunday, 3 April 2022, Computer Work

My SSDs came in today.  I replaced my Desktop HDD with these two drives and set them up to mirror each other for backup.  The mirroring process was much easier than I expected.  Now my Desktop is faster and file explorer, though still hanging up a bit, loads smoother.  These drives are small, only 500GB, so I will use them for new files or new versions of old files, only.

I set up the old HDD as an external drive so I will be able to access my old files with a push of a button.  Old Files are backed up to two other HDDs, which are disconnected and safely stored away.  Next, I will destroy all of my old CDs.

Wednesday, 30 March 2022: Signs of Spring

After coffee with Kelly, I took a long walk in the cold.  I had to bundle up.  By the time I was finished, it had warmed up a bunch.

It was just warm enough out today to wash the car.  I cleaned the entire outside and the car looks a whole lot better.  I still need to  Armor All the exterior plastic parts, something that I don't think has ever been done. Tomorrow it is supposed to storm, so this weekend will be the best time to give it another wash, wax, and treat the plastic.  Once the outside is finished, I'll detail the inside, which looks pretty good, except for the carpet under the driver mat.

Kady bought all-weather mats for the front back and trunk and they fit like a glove.  She also got two tag frames and I put them on.

Damn, my life is boring.  I wouldn't change a thing.

Saturday, 26 March 2022: Back to Toyota

Kady and I picked up our new Venza in Richmond today.  The whole process took about 30 minutes.  The drive home was spent learning the car.  It was a lot of fun.  This car is a step up in space and technology from the Fusion.

We'll spend a little more time in it tomorrow after reading the books tonight.  I like it already. 

Once home, I took a nap.  One Thing a Day!

Friday, 25 March 2022:  Singing His Songs

Today was a better day.  I didn't think about Cooper as much and when I did, I was simply grateful for the years we had with him and all he gave us.  I also thought about how his last moments were the best they could have been.  The doctor told E and A that they could take him home, but that he'd probably not make it through the night.  I imagine that, had they done that, he would have died while they were asleep, alone.  Going the way he did, with the doc's assistance, he was surrounded by his family, happy, in no pain, went to sleep, and died quietly.  

As I walked today, I sang his songs, those we'd written together over the years - Mister Cooper (to the tune of Mr. Sandman), Come on Cooper (to the tune of Air Force One), and Cooper Ooh-Na-Na (to the tune of Havana). 

Thursday, 24 March 2022: Cooper

Coop died today.  E and A took him to his oncologist and he found a mass in his abdomen and his red blood cells were down.  All agreed that it was time.

My last view of him, over video messaging, was of him wagging his whole body as the doctor came back in the door.  He went the way he lived - the happiest boy, showing everyone the Cooper Love.

We celebrated his life last night texting photos and videos back and forth.  It made losing him a little better.

Still, it was a bad day.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022: Garbage

This morning was gorgeous.  I should have been out on a long walk, but I sat Out Back waiting on the garbage man.  That's right, the damn garbage man.  Last week, for some reason, they picked up everyone's garbage but mine.  That left me to cram my garbage from this past week on top of what was in the can from last week.  I'm guessing it was just a mistake; I've certainly done nothing to piss them off.  As a matter of fact, I think they like me.  They must have figured out that I pressure wash a dirty can when I get one back, so they keep bringing me dirty ones.

I wish we had our own cans.  The trade-off is that they come behind the house every Tuesday to roll our cans to the truck.  Nice.  At VMI, the Lexington garbage guys wouldn't walk six feet from the curb to the patio and they loved to destroy your cans or lids by ripping off the handles or leaving the lids in the road to be run over.

So, I sat out back waiting, cleaning up the backyard a bit, listening to my Summertime Mix on Amazon Music, and typing this post.  They showed up at 1400, as Kady and I were going to the gym.

Saturday, Kady and I will drive to Richmond to pick up our car, a Venza, which I am already calling as The Camry Wagon.  Wednesday next week, I'll go back to the VA Clinic to pick up my hearing aids, which I am calling My New Headphones.  I've been telling everyone that the first thing I'm going to do is go out in the woods to listen to the birds.  I'm thinking Ivy Creek Natural Area!  Next Thursday, Kady leaves for Tennessee, to visit SS for his birthday.

Monday, 21 March 2022: Back to Work

Last night was a sad end to the 2021-22 Auburn Men's Basketball season.  It was an amazing year, but 79-61!?  Holy cow.  They fell apart.  Passing, ball handling, shots, rebounding and everything else was the sloppiest I have seen all year.  After the fourth steal and fast-break score by Miami, I had to shut off the game.

Time for some Auburn Softball.  The girls are kicking ass!  Again!

Yesterday, I finished the next to the last movie in the Marvel Universe, Avenger's End Game.  Today, I watched Wanda Vision, all nine episodes.  I think it was as good as any of the movies and better than most of them.  Next is Loki.

I walked three tough miles today, lots of hills.  I hate that route Kady and I went to the gym at 1400.  She did the elliptical trainer while I did Arms.

Saturday, 9 March 2022: Coffee with the Kiddos

I got up early to take coffee over to Jay and KS's house.  I ordered it from the Daily Grind, my favorite neighborhood shop.  We all sat around the kitchen bar and talked.  Ann joined us.

Afterward, I picked up a few groceries at Harris-Teeter and then picked up a biscuit for Kady at Bojangles.  With these groceries, Kady is making Bang-Bang Shrimp.  Yes Sir, Buddy!

Simona lost a tough match last night.  Too bad.  She was playing great tennis at Indian Wells.

Friday, 18 March 2022: Audiology

I had a nice walk after going to get Kady a Bojangles biscuit.  I went for about 4.75 miles.  I need to push it to 6.  It was hot, approaching 80-degrees, but it felt so good..

This afternoon, I had an audiology appointment at the Charlottesville Veterans Administration Clinic  I took a hearing test.  I have more high-range loss in my left ear, though my best ear, my right, is about where it was the last test.  That was good news.

The Audiologist, a pretty young girl from the mask up,  fit me for a set of Hearing Aids, silver, to blend with my hair color.  She said that when I have them in that I won't be able to hear the ringing in my ears.  That, too, was good news.

Thursday, 17 March 2022:  Fitness

Jay and KS returned our car today.  They had it all this week while their's was in the shop having an oil leak and the air conditioner repaired.  Now that it is back, I'm going to the gym every weekday from now on. Well, tomorrow I have an audiology appointment at the VA clinic here in town.  The end state here is to get those hearing aids I was told years ago that I needed.

Hearing Aids.  Good Grief.

I walked for a couple of miles this morning, keeping it short as it looked like rain.  I made it to the house just as the bottom fell out.  This afternoon, it cleared and Kady and I did another two miles.

Kady and SS began talking about our next trip.  They're thinking Utah . . . see all of Utah.  I'm good with that.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022: Stop running, Neely, you'll only die tired.

Over the last few days, I have become increasingly sore from running,  So sore, that I didn't want to do anything the day after a run, no walk, no gym, no workouts at all.  It hit me - This race and getting ready for it, has spoiled my happiness and fitness.  I used to love my walks ands couldn't begin my day without one.  I've let running spoil my love for walking.

So, I'm stopping.

I just texted E with this decision.  I took all the markers off my calendar and deleted the C25K app from my phone.  Now, I'm going for a long walk.  I'm taking my camera.  I'm going to enjoy this and, hopefully, work out the kinks running has added to my body.

Today was Sally's surgery and that went well, no stint.

Later: I did four miles at a good clip without worrying about how it would affect my run tomorrow.  It was actually Hot out there.  Yay for Spring!  I'm already looking forward to my walk tomorrow.  Now it is time to exercise.

Tuesday, 14 March 2022: A Walk in the Woods

I took Kady on a short hike in the woods this afternoon, I think she liked it.  We walked down to the little pond by our house, out on the dam to see the geese, and then followed the path that runs alongside the creek.

The weather was beautiful out there, one of the warmest days so far this month.

Once back at the house, she began cooking while I set up the Out Back, set up the chairs, cleaned the table, and raised the umbrella.  I took my Bose Speaker, Chromebook, and Phone out to check the new WiFi extender and it works fine.  I played around on line for a bit until it began to get cool out there

For lunch, she made a sausage, spinach, and potato gnocchi soup.  It was European Master Chef worthy.  Fantastic.

After lunch, I went back outside and cleared all of the Bess things out of the shed, like paint, filter cleaning fluid, filter oil, an extra bulb, and some odd spare parts.  I have no need for all that stuff.

Soon, I'll be out there with all my kit, smoking good cigars and drinking good whiskey.

Can't wait.

Monday, 14 March 2022: Switching Over

Dumping Windows, though not completely, has been a blast.  I've been planning this for months and it has gone extremely well.  I received my ASUS Chromebox yesterday, as well as a timely Keyboard and Mouse.  I turned off my Dell Desktop, and put my Chromebox on my desk, wired it to the Modem, plugged in the dongle, ran an HDMI cable to my monitor, set the monitor to automatically recognize which source port was active.  There were no issues and the setup was simple.

As I began trying it out, I ran into only one issue - PeacockTV.com won't stream on this device.  Everything else and all of our other services work just fine.

Next, I streamlined my system by uninstalling all of the Apps that came with it.  I kept Chrome (of course), Play Store, Calculator, and Snapseed.  I downloaded Amazon Music.  Now, I do everything except photo manipulation and music on my browser.  I may have to add a video program.

This whole Google experiment has been fun, easy, and very successful.  Had I received the free Pixel 6 from US Cellular, my total cost of transition to a google phone, laptop, and desktop would have been less than $500.   Buying the phone pushed me over a grand, but, it is proving worth every penny getting away from Microsoft and Samsung.   And, I like Google Fi a lot better than US Cellular.

Sunday, 13 March 2022:   A Weekend Off

I  haven't done much this weekend, partly because Kady is under the weather, but, more because Jay has our car.  His car is in the shop till, maybe Wednesday, and he has the greater need.  I watched Dune Part One again, finished re-watching the last season of Yellowstone, and watched a few other lesser things.  I ordered a ASUS Chrome Box, a Logitec Mouse and Keyboard, and a XQD mamory card for my camera.   I cleaned my room a bit and vacuumed the carpet.  My wireless Dell keyboard just crapped out on me, but I had a wired one from a past computer that is keeping me going.  Damn if I don't like it better.

That's about it.

I wrote Ryan, Vicki, Bill P, and Courtney D, trying to re-establish contact with them.  Ryan is the hardest.  She's young and doesn't converse back-and-forth well.  She answered right back and I responded, but now, crickets.  I know she's a busy single mom in a new job.  No worries. Bill shot me an e-mail right back.  I haven't heard from Courtney yet; I may have to call.  I know Vic will write when she gets the time.  Writers have other things to write.  Sally remains my most faithful correspondent; we write every day.  I love her. 


Just when I thought my weekend was going to be completely boring, my Chromebox and peripherals came.  Setup was easy.  This is a nice little computer and it is all I need to do all my stuff.

Thursday, 10 March 2022: Recovery

Yesterday I fed my feelings; I ate everything in sight - Eggs, Grits, and Trail Mix while we watched Ghosts, Kady's Homemade Pizza, and then Kady's Feel-Better-Cupcakes.  I paid for that last night.

This morning, I was up before my 0630 alarm, showered, and picked up Bojangle's breakfast for Jay, KS, Jk, and me.  E called as I was going in the door so we all talked to her on speakerphone as she drove to work.  I took Jk to school and, then picked up breakfast for Kady.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

I sold Bess today.  The process was fast and easy, like ripping off a bandaid, but it left me far sadder than I imagined.   

Tuesday, 8 March 2022: R05-0477

I'm selling Bess. I know; I said I'd never sell her, but it's time.  She is a young man's car.  Her clutch has begun to hurt my old knee, her ride shakes my old bones, and she is too low for Kady to enter and exit comfortably.  She is beginning t have more and more maintenance problems. and I don't want to spend a ton of money on a car that I only drive a few times a month.

I just cleared out all of my personal stuff and took off her tags.

She has been a great car and I will miss her.  We'll never get to do that Beach Trip together and that hurts the most.

I am getting a nice check for her when she's picked up tomorrow.  I hope someone who wants to fix her up buys her.  They'll be getting a great car.

The plan is for Kady and me to get a new Toyota Venza, trading in the Fusion at 150K-miles.  It'll be like being in 1988 again and driving a Camry Wagon.

Sunday Afternoon, 6 March 2022: Old Town

I finally drove to old town Frederick, a very cool part of town.   It's taken me a while to get there.

 First, I walked to the churches, then down Market Street, and then along Carroll Creek Park.  It's very picturesque downtown.  I wish the kids would get adventurous and stop with the "we have a baby" thing; it looks like there is a LOT to do with cool places to eat down there.

I didn't see a mask the whole time.  Sometimes, Americans make me proud.

Just as I made it to the car, it began raining.

Sunday Morning, 6 March 2022: A Cloudy Frederick Day

Cooper and I took the path alongside Tuscarora Creek that leads to the old Ruin.  Along this route, Cooper has to smell every boulder set along the road to keep cars off the green areas.  He has to stop on the bridge crossing the creek to look at the water and anything that moves.  This area is a haven for all manner of wildlife and we've seen Muskrats and Beaver there.  We also see Rabbits, Squirrels,  and, with luck, a Kitty, his favorite.

Saturday, 5 March 2022: Swings and Sticks

My Google Fi is working like a champ here in Frederick, unlike US Cellular.  Cell Service here is normally suspect with any carrier, but Fi is solid.

SGM got us all up at 6 am.   Normal.  She has a bottle, plays, gets a diaper change, and then is ready for a nap at about 7 am.  As per normal, there is nothing I like to eat here, so I waited for them.  E made some biscuits and I found some  Apple jam in her fridge.  I ate that.

That was about noon.

I took Cooper for a long walk and by the time we got back, the kids and Kady has eaten lunch.  As I instructed, they got me a salad from Chick-fil-a.

Cooper was great on the walk and we went for 2.5 miles.  That's the farthest we've been together since getting here from Kansas.  It was good to spend time with him.  Around 4 pm, we took SGM and Coop to the playground.  SGM got to swing, Cooper got to go off-leash.  Crazy Dog cased a stick until her was exhausted.

Friday, 4 March 2022: Cooper's Hair

Kady and I drove to Frederick this afternoon to spend the weekend with the kids, SGM, and Cooper.  We arrived at about 1530.  Cooper met us at the door.

MAN!  His hair is growing like wildfire and it's dark red.  He's beautiful.  I think he feels more confident with his hair.  Certainly, he feels better since all of the Chemo has worn off.

Straight off we had to play keep-away, do tricks for snacks, and fetch the ball.

SGM is taking her own sweet time learning to crawl.  I think she prefers the ease of Combat Rolling around the room.  She may not walk until she's two.  The girl is gorgeous!

We had Plaza Mexico for supper.  I got their Street Tacos.  Oh, my goodness, they were good.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022: Confirmation

I met with my Orthopedic Surgeon this morning, seeking advice and direction, moving on from where I am.  He said that I am right where I should be and to continue doing what I'm doing.  He gave me a couple of exercises, modified some of those I've been doing, and showed me how far he wanted me to move my arm.

I call this Success.

Kady and I went for a walk along the  Rivanna River this afternoon, starting at Darden Towe Park.  It was really nice there and the day was perfect.   Her car is still not ready.

Tuesday, 1 March 2022: Mint, AGAIN

Kim and I spent the first half of the morning taking the Fusion to the Ford place.  It has been cutting off in the middle of the road, intermittently, but had gotten worse lately.  It put me in a dangerous situation after I had it washed,  but it was the day before,  when it put her in a bad one, that I'd had enough.

They called and it seems to be the Fuel Pressure Sensor.  We should have it back tomorrow.

I spent the rest of the day loading Linux Mint 20.3 on my old laptop.  I had to install it four times before I got it stable.  Dell Support Assist was not giving up easily.  I ended up loading it Legacy Boot, Secure Off.  That worked.  Now that it loads reliably, I've loaded Chrome on it so that I can use it like I use my Chromebook.  I loaded GIMP on it for photos.

That makes me half the way to getting rid of Windows.

Monday, 28 February 2022: 1883

"What is death? What is this thing we all share?  Even stars die, and we know absolutely nothing of it."

We 1883 fans have lost so many great loves along the way, but none more painful than losing Elsa, our guide at every step.  Certainly, this show will go down in history as one of the best stories about the west ever written and put to acting.  It will be watched again and again.  It will never grow old.

And the wisdom of this character will live on.  Her insights about life and death will rival the eternal bards.

Thanks, Taylor Sheridan.

After Elsa's death, she says of the last moment of life -

"There is a moment when your dreams and your memories merge together and form a perfect world. That is heaven.  And each heaven is unique.  It is the world of you.

The land is filled with all you hold dear and the sky is your imagination. 

My heaven is filled with good horses and open plains and wild cattle and a man who loves me.  It is always sunrise in my world.  And there are no storms.  I am the only lightning. 

I know death now.  I've seen it.  It had no fangs.  It smiled at me.  And it was beautiful. "

I hope she's right.

How will my dreams and memories merge to fill my perfect world?  

I am sitting on the hood of my Mustang, watching a thunderstorm in the Gulf at sunset, drinking good whiskey and smoking a fine cigar, with Kady sitting beside me.  Cooper is playing in the Surf.  Dan is singing.

And, then, Nothing.

"Death smiles at us all.  All a man can do is smile back." ~ Marcus Aurelius

Sunday, 27 February 2022: Brunch and Bull Run

I met LR and my granddaughter, ST, in Chantilly for Brunch, Eggspectation.  We talked for over two hours.  ST is adorable.  This was the first time I've really spent time with her and I was amazed at how much she looked and acted like 10-year-old JK.  I had a great time.

After, I walked the Manassas /Bull Run Battlefield, North of the Stone House where Evans, Bartow, and Bee were flanked by Burnsides, Franklin, Porter, and Willcox.   I have only spent time studying and walking Jackson's position in years past.

I had to look is the terrain like a scout on an OP, calling in indirect fire. Mitch, George, and I could have smashed anything in that area.

Looking North from Henry House Hill

First Pixel 6 Photo

Thursday, 24 February 2022: The Pixel 6

"I'm glad that drama is over." ~ Kady

About Noon, Fed-Ex changed my SIM Card delivery date to "next business day."  OK, I can wait, I thought.

Still, I began playing with the phone and reading about it.  I ran across an article about how the Pixel 6 had an eSIM card.  Kim had told me about this early in the week and we checked and didn't think it could be used on Google FI, which puzzled me. When I set up the Fi account, they didn't mention it and sent me the SIM Card.

I picked up the box for the serial number to call Google.  The bottom number on the box was the eSIM Card Number.  I turned on the Phone, opened the Fi app, and had it set up in about two minutes.  It took another fifteen minutes to transfer my number from USCellular.

Boom!  I'm on Fi and done with Samsung, Fed-Fx, and US Cellular.

Compared to the S10, this phone is a streamlined little piece of kit.  Keeping everything Google makes it fantastically easy to connect all my devices.  I booted up the Chromebook and connected the two.  I like how that went.

Next, Windows is on the chopping block.  I'll need a Chromebox for that.

Monday, 21 February 2022: High Bridge and a Hurt Hip

KS called this morning after her doctor's appointment.  She's going to have surgery on her hip to repair the torn Labral at her right hip joint.  Poor baby, she's been in such pain.  Now we know why.   The surgery is scheduled for April.

Just before Noon, Kady and I set off South for Farmville for a Day-Date.  We had lunch at Charlie's Waterfront Cafe, which was nice, though understaffed.  Covid!  The food was good, but the service was slow.  Understandable.  My Onion Rings were the best rings I have ever had.  I ate them with salt and ketchup, of course.

While we were waiting to be seated, we walked around the restaurant taking photos.  Farmville is a picturesque little place.  I like it.

After lunch, we drove to High Bridge State Park to walk the bridge.  It's amazing.  For me, it was a Civil War place I always wanted to visit.  On the race to Appomattox, this bridge was hotly contested by the two armies, finally falling into Union hands, splitting Lee's Army in two and allowing Union forces to surround the Confederates.

For Kady, it was a challenge.  She is seriously afraid of heights but wanted to see if she could cross it.  We made it halfway, her squeezing my hand and arm so hard that it hurt.  She sat on a platform while I took a few photos and then we headed back to the car.  I married a brave girl.

Once Home, I went to Jay's house for a nap.  We were supposed to be watching Eternals, but it was the most boring shit ever.  I kept dozing off and they kept dropping things to wake me when I began snoring.  It was pretty funny.  But Seriously, the movie drug on for what seemed like, as KS put it, Five Hours! 

I should have my Sim Card Tomorrow.  Excited.

Sunday, 20 February 2022: P6

Surprise!  Kady bought me a Pixel 6.  Forget everything I said on 17 Feb, Below.

I told her my plan and she felt bad for me.  She said, "Life is too short to settle."  Then we went to US Cellular.  Damn them.  After checking with them before she bought the phone, they didn't have a sim card that would work.  I was really miffed that the rep there, a nice girl, kept going to a drawer and fishing loose 4G sims out of a pile.  She called an expert to see if she could get a sim that would work and they told her, "yes, but they are out of stock and we don't know when we'll get them."


It took the girl about 20-minutes to get my Samsung working again.  Once done, we left.  I knew what I wanted to do.  Kady and I went to lunch at Bone Fish and, while we waited on food, I checked out Google Fi.  After a delicious meal of  Bang Bang Shrimp (favorite), a Porkchop (amazing), Whipped Garlic Potatoes, and steamed veggies, we headed home.  I was signed up for Google Fi in about five minutes with a 5G sim on the way.  It should be here by the 23rd.

Worth the wait!  All Things Google.

Saturday,  19 February 2022: Nothing

It is a Nothing Day.  I think I'll nap.

Thursday, 17 February 2022: Focus: a note to self


Monday, 14 February 2022: Back Home

Kady and I drove home this morning after A took SGM to daycare.  We took Highway 340 all the way back.  I like that route.

This afternoon, Jim McCullough called to invite me to the 2-505 Medic Reunion in San Antonio in November.  Jim was the Medic Platoon Sergeant when I was the Scout Platoon Sergeant.  He's a great guy.  I'm going to try to make it.

Sunday, 13 February 2022: Super Bowl Sunday

Frederick got about an inch of snow this morning.  Thank goodness it didn't stick on the streets or sidewalks.  Our plan is to head home tomorrow morning and I do not want the snow to interfere with that.

I sleep well here.  The basement is so cold, that I can sleep under three blankets.  I didn't get up this morning until 8 am.  Cooper had already gone out and had his breakfast.  SGM was playing on the floor.  A and E were both on their phones.  

Good Morning!

Saturday, 12 February 2022: So Much For The Hike

By the time I got my ass out of bed this morning, E had left, A and SGM were up and playing, and Cooper had been out for his walk and had had his breakfast.

E was called into work to help do some much-needed upgrades on the facility's infrastructure.  We haven't seen her since.  We were supposed to go hiking today, but that wasn't looking likely. 

When it became clear she would be later than expected, I took Coper for a walk.  Sixty degrees and sunny is a lot different than sixty-six degrees, overcast and windy.  Yesterday, I wore a t-shirt and shorts.   I was plenty warm.  I tried that again today and froze.  I don't think it was evident to Cooper, but I rushed him through his constitutional and headed straight back to the house.

We watched Auburn beat TAMU in basketball.  There is no team I like beating better than A&M.  I don't like them.  I've been there three times and they are a weird bunch of people and their Corps is a clown show.  Watch one parade and you'll see what I mean.

I played with SGM a lot more today.  She is such a jewel, the happiest baby I have ever seen.  She loves playing bashful with me.  I'll say, "Hey Girl, Hey."  She'll laugh and hide her face in Kady's blouse.

Friday, 11 February 2022: Sweden before Maryland

I packed this morning at 6 am, ate a light breakfast, and then waited for my Zoom meeting with Magnus.  He is a former cadet and the Father of the New Cadet Military Training Program at VMI.  He is a sought-after expert on NATO and the North Atlantic Alliance, who now works at the US Naval Institute.  Our meeting was a lot of catch-up talk and some international discussion, re. Russia on the border of Ukraine.  Amazingly, he allowed me my ignorant opinions and I'm pretty sure we solved all of the world's problems.  Magnus is a brilliant guy.

Kady and I were on the road by 10 am, headed for Maryland.  We'll celebrate E's birthday, Valentine's Day, and watch the Super Bowl up here before heading home Monday night.

I took Cooper for a nice long walk, just about the time I got in the door.  The boy was READY to go.  He has tons more hair now, though it's much darker, and the most beautiful shade of red.  When it gets longer, I think he's going to look more like an Irish Doodle.

Our walk was spirited and fun, though he did quite a bit of sniffing.  I let him.  I want him to be as happy as possible for the time we have left with him.  Sniffing makes him happy.

He had a full checkup yesterday and everything came back within normal limits.  This makes us all happy.

More walking tomorrow.  Tonight, Fish Tacos!

Wednesday, 9 February 2022: Food Day

I ate my Mediterranian breakfast this morning.  About an hour later I had a small bowl of yogurt and granola.  Kady and I had talked about the Gym, so I cleaned up my room and dressed in my workout clothes.  

About 1000, she texted and said Jay wanted to do lunch, which turned out to be a trip to Taste Shack.  We picked up KS and met jay there.  I had the Rubin.  It was a LOT!

By the time I got back to the house, it was nap time.  I slipped into a deep food coma that lasted about three hours.

I woke to the smell of food cooking downstairs.  Kady was making breakfast and chocolate-filled croissants.  I ate again.

I have to stop eating this much stuff!

Monday, 7 February 2022: At The Gym

Kady and I went to the Gym together today.  I was great fun.  She 's a beast and did everything I showed her plus her routine from her trainer.  We also walked a mile together.

I think we're going every day this week.  She's going to try the elliptical .  I want to do Thai Chi.

Sunday, 6 February 2022: Don't Bother

The worst!  Reacher pretty much sucked.  I can't believe I watched the whole thing.  If you're thinking about it, don't bother.   Reacher, supposedly a badass 300-pound, 6'5" highly trained monster, seemed easily beaten up by 5'11", 175-pound dudes.   I'm guessing it was because he was an Army MP.  He also didn't like 38 Special music and drove British luxury cars throughout the show, which I thought effeminate.  I could easily make the case for murder stick on the two guys he shot in the back of the head.  So many laws were broken by every character in this show, good and bad. that the director, writers, and producers should all be arrested.  Completely Implausible.

The show tried to cover up his lack of acting skills by suggesting he had some attachment disorder like Asperger's Syndrome.  Maybe he can ack.  I don't know, I never watched Smallville or any of his B Movies.

The main girl was cute.

Saturday night was a lot of fun.  Matt and Monise came as did Rachael and her boyfriend.  Ann came up to join us.  Jay picked up Venny's Italian.  Monise made her Brigadeiro Cake, a Brazilian delicacy, and it was the best chocolate cake I have ever had.  We watched Olympic Curling.

Saturday, 5 February 2022: New Show

I began watching Amazon's new show, Reacher, yesterday.  It can't hold a candle to the Jack Reacher movies, but it's pretty good.  It's pretty graphic and I think they've killed about a thousand people in four episodes.  I'm still watching though the whole thing is pretty improbable.  I assume that says something about it.

We're going to Em's birthday party for the neighborhood kids tonight.  Yay.

Friday, 4 February 2022: Giving Up or Giving In

After talking to Google, I called US Cellular again this afternoon.  Google says they had plenty of Pixel 6 phones in stock.  So, I demanded from US Cellular the information on WHY they didn't have the phone and when they expected them to arrive in their warehouse.  I don't think I'm going to hear from them.

My next plan is to cancel the order and live with this Samsung Phone.  Maybe I'll wait on the Pixel 7.  Who knows what those will be like.

It was dreary outside today.

Thursday, 3 February 2022: Odi et Amo

Two months after ordering, I still don't have my new phone.  It looks like all of the carriers are having issues getting it from Google, though you can get one from Amazon in one day.  This morning I began reading about the possibility of an early release of the Pixel 6a.  Great.  Before I even get my new phone, it will be outdated.  Hell, I may never get it.  U. S. Cellular is such a small company that they are probably at the bottom of the supply chain.  I've called twice and gone to the store once, and no one has answers.  But, I'm faithful to them; they are a good business.  We've been with them from the start, customers for over 20-years. 

And, my Samsung S 10+ is working just fine, I just hate it because of the Samsung software and updates.  On the last update, they loaded a Solitare game on my phone!  WtF?!  I don't play games on my phone or on my computers.  My devices are tools.  If I need to entertain myself, I'll read, watch a movie, or go outside.  At least I was able to uninstall it, unlike most of the useless, invasive Samsung bloatware on my phone.  Here's a List:

A perfect example of how useless this shit is to me is AR Doodle.  AR Doodle lets you draw on your photos.  Since I'm not a 12-year-old girl, I don't do that.  If I did, I'd need a Samsung S-Pen on the S 10+, which I don't have or need.  Yet, I can't uninstall this feature from my own phone.  Most of the apps have access to your phone and location which cannot be denied.  Most have permission to send you notifications that cannot be turned off.  

The two I find the most egregious are Digital Wellbeing and Samsung Visit In

 Wellbeing tracks everything you do and every moment on you are phone so Samsung can decide if you  are "Unhealthy."  "Uh, John.  You have been on your phone too much today.  You need to go meditate or do some yoga."  

Visit In allows Samsung to know when you are close to participating businesses so they can send you notifications on sales, discounts, and coupons.  "Hey, John! We see you're close to Sephora. They're having a 10% off sale today on all makeup."

This list and the inability to disable or, better yet, uninstall this crap is why I hate you, Samsung.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022: Lil' Em

Today is Em's birthday. We went to their house for dinner and cupcakes.  Mostly, Em played upstairs with her friend, David, coming down for pizza and presents. How is she already seven?

Once we were home, I began feeling bad, another bout of my stomach stuff.  It wasn't as bad as before, I think because I threw up at the onset.  I slept well after it subsided.

Last night, at Jay's suggestion, I began watching Yellowjackets on SHO.  It started out really well, but I stopped and went downstairs to tell Kady about it.  I hope she'll watch it with me.  This is one crazy show.

Monday, 31 January 2022: Gotham

"If we stop right here, we'll have all the best of it straight. It will never get mixed up with anything else, and we'll just have the best of each other . . . You just want to look at me. Look at your beautiful ghost, and see the way she's looking at you, and then you want to close your eyes, while she walks out of your life, and if she never comes back again, you won't care, because it's not about that. It's about what you saw when she looked at you, and the feel of her lips for the first time, and the scent of her and the way her hair felt, and the way she cried at that silly song.  And you had the best of her, all the best of her." ~  Rachael Caryle, Gotham, 1988

I found the movie Gotham on Youtube.  It starred Virginia Madsen and Tommy Lee Jones and is one of the best ghost stories and love stories that I've ever seen.  I watched it on HBO long ago and from that time on, Virginia has been a favorite.

This line from the scene where she appears out of the smoke and listens to an old man sing Danny Boy rang true to me.  I guess we have all felt the loss of love and are left with only fragrant memories.

Old Men.  How Sad.

I had a great workout today at the Gym.

Saturday, 29 January 2022: Cousin Conversation

I woke this morning prepared to dress to knock the snow off of the cars and shovel them out.  To my absolute delight, there was hardly any snow out there.  Our predicted 1 - 3 inches turned out to be about a quarter-inch.

I let the sun do the work.

Up early with nothing to do, I made some French Toast for breakfast. 

This afternoon, I called my cousin Annelle to ask her about CE Neel's first wife.  She knows the story from her mom, my Aunt, Myrtle Ruth.  Though she did not know the woman's name, she remembers her mom saying she died a few weeks (9) after the wedding.  She doesn't have EC's army letters or the photo of Ruth Clark.

Another dead end.

Friday, 28 January 2022: A Little Something for Myself.

After a Mediterranian Breakfast of feta cheese, dolma, Kalamata olives, and boiled eggs,  I went for a walk in the cold this morning, 4-miles, and it felt great.  I just need to dress for it.  I did this morning and was comfortable, except for my ears.  I need to wear a watch cap next time.  After my walk, I piddled around on the Computer a while and then drove to the Gym.  I did back and chest, with some squats.  It was really crowded in the gym today.   I was having to wait on machines.

When I got home, I made a baby spinach, feta cheese, onion, and bacon omelet. I out-did myself.  It was yummy.

Now it's snowing.

Thursday, 27 January 2022: She's Back

My brother Jim answered my email.  He had a conversation with our uncle, Neely Vaughn, at Tommy's funeral.  He knew the story of the first Mrs. EC Neel, and said he remembers talking about it with Martha Ann, his wife, my aunt.  He mentioned that EC married her in Georgia.  That has to be Ruth Elizabeth Clark.

I'm back on board with that solution.

Seriously, John!  How many Emmette Conwell Neel's could there be on this planet?

I've revised that timeline.  I have, until today, had EC going into the army after her death.  That may still be true, depending on how she died.  If she died in the Flu Epidemic of 1918, she would have died in September or October, after he went into the Army.

I wish we could find his letters home, they would probably tell us a lot.

Like where Ruth is buried, where EC was stationed, did he get the flu, did he go to France, and other things we all want to know.

For the last two days, I have been in a funk.  No Exercise, no walk, no gym, just sitting in my room on the computer.  I want to blame the cold, but that's not it.  What I'd really like to do is get stinkin' Drunk!  I'm not going to do that.

Tomorrow, I'm setting my clock for 0600, walking as soon as the sun is up, and then going to the Gym at 1300.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022: Headed Home

After researching all day, I sent Jimmy this e-mail:


I have continued to look for Emmette C's first wife but have had no luck.  If she existed, she may be lost in time like John Clayton.

I think it is most likely that The missing Mrs. E. C. Neel is Annie Ruth Neel, wife of Uncle Charlie Bozwell.  She was an Aust-Smith, both Binnsville and Geiger families.  Her Brother married Aunt Birdie, mother of Georgie Francis, mother of Zadie and Johnye Ruth.  Annie Ruth and Charlie had two children Armon Bozwell and Mary Helen.  Armon moved to Atlanta and his son and grandson were pharmacists.  Armon III may still be alive and in his 80s, but can't find anything on him after 2015.

Annie Ruth died in 1918, which fits the influenza story. The Ruths in the family are probably named in her honor. To me, this version of the story is no less interesting and equally meaningful.  That our grandfather and her brother named their daughters after her is a powerful statement about how much she was loved.  She died just before her 30th Birthday.

If I'm correct.  I have not given up on Mrs. E. C. Neel #1.


I believe it may be time to go to Binnsville and scope out the entire cemetery.  If there was a first Mr. E. C. Neel, she should be buried there. 

Kady and I left for Charlottesville when SGM went down for her 3 PM nap.  We took the craziest way home, through the countryside, on nothing but backroads.  It was beautiful and fun, but a little too slow.  Much of the way we could only do 45 mph.

I unpacked and then settled in to watch Auburn Basketball at Missouri.  Auburn is #1 in the Nation for the first time ever.  It was a close game, with Auburn winning by only one point.

Monday, 24 January 2022: Testing

E has a sore throat and runny nose so she went for a COVID test today.  We're awaiting the result.

Sally has it,  I'm checking on her.

Eddie had it.  It kicked his butt, but he survived.  He's having to take blood thinners for clots.  He'll do a CAT Scan in March.

22 January 2022: Maryland Routine

We're still in Frederick.  I'm usually on my computer in the Diningroom during the day, while the others watch TV in the Den.    

From this vantage point, I can watch games, play on my computer, and keep up with the conversation in the den.  When it gets too ridiculous in there, I plug out and listen to my music. 

Last night E made a completely biased statement about Governor Youngkin that pissed me off.  I went after her about it, checked myself, and plugged out.  She's been watching too much CNN.  I told her to watch his acceptance speech and get back to me.

Another reason for plugging out is the Kid's Music Channel on the TV, which seems constantly run when SGM is awake.  Sometimes it's running while she's in her bed napping.  I've heard The Wheels on the Bus too many times for my sanity.  

I drown this out with a little Katie Garfield music, made mostly as background music for TV shows.  Her music is very good but doesn't invade my train of thought while I'm working.  It's great for my focus.  There are times, however, when I listen to it exclusively.   Her voice is amazing.  She is also easy on the eyes.  See her in her movies Strings and The Perfect Summer.

I've been walking on the treadmill, which is downstairs where I sleep.  I do that in the mornings when it is cold, and then walk cooper in the afternoon when the temperature is more bearable.

On the Treadmill:  I friggin hate walking on the treadmill.  Outside, the miles fly by and I'm usually not ready to quit.  On the mill, they creep by and I'm ready to stop about the time I hit the start button.

We've been watching the pro football playoffs, ending last night with the Greenbay game.  That's A's Team, so, I'm cheering for them again.  We all do.  I used to be a fan when I was in high school, back when Bart Starr was their QB.  My high school team's uniforms looked just like Greenbay's.

Well, last night was not the Packers' night. It seemed like Aaron Rogers spent the entire night on the ground, chased down by an unstoppable San Fransisco defensive front four.

I've pretty much finished re-designing Vicki's Website and moving it to Google.  This will save her a ton of money and, if she'll give it a shot, will be easy for her to edit.

It looks like we'll be able to go home on Tuesday, maybe Monday night.  SGM will go back to daycare next week.

21 January 2022: Back North

E called yesterday.  She asked if we could come up to help with SGM until she could go back to school.  Of Course, we said yes.

We drove up this morning, arriving about noon.  We stood I29 and 15 up, thinking the backroads that we prefer would be slippery.  Traffic was light.  It was an easy drive.

It's cold in Maryland and Virginia.  It was 19 most of the day and then went to 22 as the sun went down.  It's supposed to go down to 10 before morning.

I took Copper out for his evening constitutional and, WOW, was it cold out there.  Having been in Virginia for a couple of decades, I have a BIG Columbia parka. With it, I wore hiking boots, my big wool gloves, a wool cap, and my scarf.  I was good.

I put Gooper's Carhart Coat on him because he still hasn't got a tot of fur.  It's coming back nicely, but still has a way to go.  Once he's fluffy again, he's good in almost any cold weather.

It's slippery out there and I and trying to be super cautious.  The sidewalks are mostly clear but crossing roads are dangerous for me.

I got up this morning, early, to watch young Zara Rutherford become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.  I have been following her for the last few days on her website, after picking up on the story in the news.  I was late to the game and don't know how I missed hearing about this.  

I guess my news bubble is too small, but, of course, I hear about it every time a Kardashian shows some cleavage.

Anyway, she's very impressive and I was happy for her.

We were supposed to get more snow today, but, so far, we've had only rain.  It's washed most of the snow away, meaning I didn't have to shovel at all.  I'm ok with that.

Since I have no Yellowstone or Expanse to watch, I'm watching the Marvel Universe movies, in order.  It's keeping me busy and out of Kady's hair.

Tuesday, 18 January 2022: Still Snowed In

The sun is shining and the temperature is going over 40 for most of the day.  I'm hoping that takes care of the snow.  If not, I may have to shovel a bit at the end of the day; I'm watching Em tonight while Jay and Jk go to Brazilian Ju-Jitsu.

Magnus called this morning, excited about a news article on VMI.edu.  The story was about a cadet who saved a life after a traffic accident, using his New Cadet Military Training (NCMT).  I call Magnus the "Father of NCMT."  He proposed the idea for a military training program to general Bunting and Colonel Hutchings.  I bought into the idea and helped facilitate its beginning.   It has continued to grow over the years as a cadet-led and instructed program, teaching Land Navigation, Marksmanship, Field Skills, and First Aid.  Reading the article, I was proud to see that something we began back in 2001 continues to make a difference in 2022.

When Em arrived, she played guitar while I photographed her for most of the first hour.  Bored with that, we went downstairs for Hot Chocolate and Popcorn.  Back upstairs, we challenged my Alexa Dot to tell us a good joke, at which she failed, miserably.   Then we listened to many of the different Sleep Sounds she can play, turned all of the lights in the house on and off, and then had her play Old Town Road, Em's favorite, to which she danced.

I can't speak for Em, but I had a GREAT Time.

The Australian Open began yesterday.  Tennis season is Kady's favorite time of the year.  She was up all night watching.

Monday, 17 January 2022: Trip Issues

Going to Alabama looks like a no-go.  Though the ice and snow in Charlottesville seem to be melting quickly, I doubt if I could leave before Wednesday morning.  Tommy's funeral is tentatively scheduled for Thursday in Geiger.  That looks doable but there is another wave of snow coming Friday.  Round Trip, that is 1500 miles and 24 hours of driving, minimum.

I don't see a way to beat the snow on Friday and get any rest.  Unless the ceremony is moved to next week, I don't think I'm going to go.

Maybe this spring I can drive down and see all my people.  I want to see Linda Anderson on the way, stay in Trussville so I can visit our parents,  visit with Jim and Lynn,  drive to Tuscaloosa to see Don and my Lee grandparents, and then go on to Geiger to see Tommy and my Neel grandparents.  

I may scout around Geiger visiting family cemeteries for new photos.  

Headed home, I want to see Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, swing through Atlanta to see Leah, Catherin', and maybe even Ron Stith.  Next, I'll head north to Durham to see Ashley, if the poor girl can fit me in her new single-mom schedule.

Sunday, 16 January 2022: Thomas Conwell Neel

Uncle Tommy died today.  My dad's brother, Tommy, 90, was the fourth of five children born to Emmette C. and Myrtle Williams Neel.  He is the last to leave this world, the last of a great family.  I just hope that we can continue their fine example.  He leaves behind his wife Anne, three sons, and numerous great-grandchildren.  I haven't kept track of them all.

I hope to make it to the service but the snow has just begun to fall.  My attendance will depend on "when." 

I hear from my cousin Lacy, that he will have a graveside service in Geiger.

Today promises to be a quiet one.  I think I'll watch Yellowstone. Sadly, The Expanse is finished.  It was a GREAT Show!

Myrtle Wicks Williams Neel with her children-Emmette, Tommy, Martha Ann, Gene, and Myrtle Ruth

Saturday, 15 January 2022: Two Good Days

Today was Inauguration Day in Virginia.  We swore the new republican governor, Youngkin, to office, ending the Northam reign of stupidity.  The two guys who sang the Star Spangled Banner were fantastic!

Here are the things I'd do, straight off the bat, if I were Youngkin-

Yesterday was my 69th Birthday.  We went to Jay's for Taste of China.  Kim brought Cupcakes from Chandler's Bakery.  After dinner, we played Trivia Murder Party 2 on Jackbox TV.  Always fun.  I came in second in two of three games.  Jay won, twice, and Ann another.  The game was against me this time.  Some of the science questions were wrong, purposefully, I think.  And, who knows that Venus was hotter than Mercury?!  The Host is a cheater.

It was a good birthday.  Sixty-nine!  Wow.


Governor Yungkin's speech was spot on.  VMI led the Parade (after the national guard) and acted as ushers.  VPI sent their band, a color guard, and what looked like an eight-person marching unit.  I didn't see VWIL there at all.  VMI sent almost everyone.  Who's the real senior military college in Virginia?

Wednesday, 12 January 2022: An Easy Day

I was sore this morning when I got up, so I took a day off from the Gym.  My plan was to run two miles (Day 5:2) around the lake track but, walking it, I decided there was still too much ice to chance it.  At one point, there was a tree over the path, though getting around it wasn't too bad.  I went back to the house to pressure-wash the garbage can, but I couldn't get the washer to work.  I think it was frozen.

Still, it wasn't a wasted day.  I got some things done on Vick's site.  I coordinated a walk with KS for Friday,   I send Kady my order for Chinese that we're having for my birthday dinner, and I confirmed with Jay that I'll be over for movie night on Monday.

KS will be gone from next Tuesday until Wednesday-week, so no walks.  Sunday, we may get another big snow.  Kady says that it could be as much as two feet.  Such Bull Shit!

Tuesday,  11 January 2022: Working Out

Kady met with the trainer today and I went at the same time.  I think she really liked it.  As for me, I had a splendid time beasting myself for the first time in a very long while.  I did squats, leg raises, abs, and arms.   I wore out easily, especially on the ab exercises.  That was no surprise.  I will get stronger.

LR texted me to let me know she'd be up in Frederick to see Savannah in February and wanted to know if I wanted to do another meet-up.  I said, yes, of course.  She's bringing Sloan.  I'm pretty excited about seeing both.

Tomorrow is Rebecca's birthday.  I really hope that she is not working, with no one to celebrate with her.  I worry.

Monday, 10 January 2022: Gym and Friends

My workout was great.  It felt so good being back in there.  I sent Huseyin a birthday wish first thing.  He answered right back.

As I was walking to the gym, COL John called me and wanted to do Lunch.  We met at Sultan Kabab at 1 PM.  I had to cancel my walk with KS.  It was good to see him; he hasn't changed a bit.  On my way to the restaurant, Roger called to let me know he  his wife, Nicole, had a son, Liam, born 26 December.  Big News.  How quickly my cadets have grown up.

Tonight, Jay and I will move our Christmas decorations to his house.

The snow is almost completely gone.  Georgia won the National Championship.  They outplayed and were better coached than Alabama.  Alabam was just not ready.

Sunday, 9 January 2022: The Weekend

Saturday, I went to the gym to meet with the personal trainer.  Not For Me.  

She is what you picture when you think of a trainer, pushy. opinionated, and has her own ways of doing things. She was overly obvious about trying to sell me her time.  It was a bit like being in a used car salesman's office.  I'm sure she knows what she's doing, but I didn't like her personality.  I know what I want to do and how I want to do it.

Today, it began raining, washing a lot of the snow away, but will freeze tonight.  Next week, It should be OK for me to walk and run again.  I begin my gym routine, tomorrow, with Arms, Legs, and Abs.

Friday, 7 January 2022: Shubbulin

Clean-up of the neighborhood continues as we got another inch of snow last night.  Actually, we got ice and then snow.  We could hear the chainsaws all yesterday.  This morning, I brushed off our cars, the car next door, and then shoveled all the snow between the cars.  I did that because her son is an idiot.  He came over and cleaned off her car and then shoveled.  He left a pile of snow behind our Fusion.  Asshole!

What a fuckin mess.  Snow is beautiful for only one day.

KS and I were going to the gym today, but I got up early, looked at the conditions, and canceled.  Tomorrow, I have a training session with one of the Personal Trainers

Thursday, 6 January 2022: Mustang Maintenence

I took Bess in for her State Inspection Sticker today.  I sat in the waiting room, watching some ESPN hipster talk about sports on the TV, you know, the guy with the spiked hair, beard, skinny jeans, and a skinny tie.   He was giving his "expert" opinion on Georgia-Alabama in the playoffs.  All I heard was blag-blah-blah.

I'm hoping Bess makes it through her inspection; her speedometer started giving me problems again.  It's time to buy the parts and fix it or buy a new cluster.  While I'm here, I think I'll check on the availability and price of the seat parts I need.

Yesterday was quiet.  All I did was take out the garbage through the slush on the back patio.  Yuck!  I refuse to shovel any snow.  I put off getting out the Christmas Boxes for Kady as well.  That's first on the order of business when I get home from Malloy Ford.

Tomorrow, KS and I are walking at ACAC.  We sure can't walk around the neighborhood.  the sidewalks are still pretty slippery and there are trees down all over the place.  It's worse than I expected.  It'll be my first visit.  I'm ready to put that place to good use.

One of the personal trainers there tells me that members in the area have been coming in for showers and to charge their phones because they have no power at home.  I'm glad that didn't happen to us.


Bess Passed.

On the way home, I went to Bojangles's for Kim's breakfast and then took the back way home to check my walking paths.  Incredible!  There are trees down everywhere, some still in the road.  The sidewalks are still covered with ice and snow.  I only saw one crew working out there.

photo from garmin.com

Tuesday, 4 January 2022: A New Toy

Kady surprised me with an early Birthday present last night.  OK, She told me she had me something and I wined about it until she gave it to me.  It's our Process.

Any Hoo, She gave me a Garmin, the Insight SolarTactical, and this thing is WOW.  I set it up with my new phone (which I haven't seen yet) in mind, letting it control my music, get notifications, track me everywhere I go, and added a few things to make it more John Friendly.  It has a definite learning curve. 

If I know Kady, this watch is a new thing she is teaching me, to keep my mind sharp, and/or a way to track down my carcass when, one day, I don't return home after a walk, run. or hike.

I can't wait to use it, but I am not going walking or running until I know it is safe out there.  I went out for photos yesterday and I was scared shitless.

Monday, 3 January 2022: Let it Snow

We got snow this morning.  I woke up, briefly at 5 am and there was nothing.  When I got up at 7, everything was covered.  I had to cancel my Personal Trainer appointment at ACAC for this afternoon.

It stopped about Noon, and now, it is so bright out there that it hurts the eyes.  I'd say we got about ten inches.  I had, for a brief moment, a real NEED to go shoveling.  Luckily, I have a wife . . . who said the Nay-No.

I think I'll let the Sun and the HOA take care of it

I'm working on my laptop because the power keeps going out, shutting down my desktop.  I really should buy a UPS and Surge Protector to protect my Big Computer.

As I posted this photo, it hit me, "I Need a new 2022 Watermark."  Done!

Now, I'm dying to get outside with my camera, but Kady won't let me.   She's correct, of course.   If I were to fall . . . again . . . 

I'm an old man.

Let it Snow

First Snow of 2022

Sunday, 2 January 2022: Watching Em

Today, I watched Em while Jay and KS went hiking at Hump Back Rocks.  I'm glad I took my laptop or I would have been bored to death.  She played outside the whole time and Jk was upstairs playing video games.  He's 14; I wonder when he'll take over these duties.  I'm ready.

KS sent me photos of the view making me want to go that soonest.

I finished my poem for Cooper, called: The Night Cooper Saved Christmas.

Saturday, 1 January 2022: Happy New Year

Yesterday, SS, Kady, and I stayed in, watching the playoff bowls.  Both turned out like everyone expected, with both Georgia and Alabama winning handily over Michigan and Cincinnati.  Cincinnati's loss was proof, once again, that going undefeated in a soft conference does not mean you are the best team in the nation, and beating Notre Dame means nothing.  So, now Alabama has to play Georgia, again, a different Georgia team, I'll wager.

We feasted on Bone Fish Grill for Dunch, which I picked up, curbside, at Halftime.  Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos.  They're a Thang!

About 9 pm, once I saw Georgia had the game in hand, I went to bed, lest I have to suffer through the terrible show which is now "Dick Clark's Rockin New Year's Eve."  I only recognized the name of one of the musical acts in the lineup, and I wasn't going to sit through the rest just to see Avril.  I like looking at Avril.

This morning, it's raining, a slow drizzle, putting a small damper on my running program.  I twisted my ankle about a week ago, slipping off the edge of the tub as I adjusted my shower speaker, stupid, I know, so I haven't run since.  I walked on it yesterday and it feels a lot better.  I've clocked back my C25K app to begin Week Five again.  If the weather forecast is correct, I should be able to do 5:1 at 11 am.  I can easily put it off until tomorrow.

Monday, I'm hoping to do a Thai Chi class at the ACAC Gym before my first session with my trainer, Leanne.  I get two free sessions, but all I want her to do is walk me through their machines and standards of use, then leave me be.  I prefer working out alone.  With Kady would be fine, or Jay, or KS, or Jk, all members of the club.

SS left about 9 am, headed home to Tennessee, to supervise his wayward pet cows. 

Tonight we played Trivia Murder Party 2 after dinner at Jay and KS's house.  KS fixed a Hello Fresh dish, One-Pot Black Bean & Pablano Soup, which was delicious.   Murder Party is always a hoot, and, despite my lack of typing and math skills, I won two games in a row.

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