11 Feb 1968, Las vegas, NV

This happy couple was soon separated by war. Both survived the parting and have been together for 39 years. They celebrated their anniversary by taking a trip to the Southwest and warming up far beyond the available temps in Kansas.
Dennis & Barb are at home at Rabbit Run, 4921 S.E. Tecumseh Road, Tecumseh, KS 66542.
May their happiness long endure. MUD

All Home and Safe

Yesterday afternoon we pulled into the drive at Rabbit Run here in Tecumseh, BY GOD" Kansas and a grander sight was not seen by a more appreciative audience. The dogs were asleep in the warm sun and didn't even look up to bark but the house was still there and the were inhabitants were fed in our absence. Thank you David.
Yesterday was the run off for the School Board at Large position. There are only two of us running for position 2 so we won't be seen on the ballot until April. I am pleased to know that my opponent is one of the nicest guys we know and either way Tecumseh South will be represented well on the board either way. If I am elected it would eliminate the substitute teacher job in the Shawnee Heights area. As I turn 60 this year and the Military retirement kicks in I'm not sure that I wouldn't have stopped any way. I'm not sure what effect it will have on Barb's continuing or not. I am pretty sure that if elected and Barb teaching I would not get to participate in the negotiations next year.
Jeez, what happened to the stock market yesterday? I am glad that only one small investment I have is in stocks. Most of my retirement is in Government Bonds and real estate (IRAs w/Cap Federal) I have always felt that my retirement funds were not to be touched so they would be in the long haul investments. The return of my money is more important than the return on my money.
Arizona is a grand place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there. Either I brought a cold with me or something aggravated my sinuses so bad that carrying a box of Kleenex became as common as my camera. I am well on the mend today but my nose is peeling off a layer today I have treated it with Neosporin and Bag Balm. The latter smells kind of like sulfur but hey, not even Kleenex sticks to your nose after a good application. If its good enough for the business end of cows, it has to be good enough for my nose. I was a little disappointed with my photo's and wondered what was the difference? As I watched Nova last night on NPR the talked about a photographer with National Geographic. His editor chastised him for shooting a session during the day at Mount Vernon, VA. Early or late light is the dramatic light and because we were on Vacation we were not out either early or late. Perhaps if my nose had felt better I might have wanted top shoot with the light later or earlier in the day. Our two shoots in the late afternoon last year did produce much more spectacular shots.
The automated call system called me twice today and both times I bailed out as "Sick". The first one was as a PE Teacher and the other was as a Special Ed Teacher. I just didn't feel up to a rigid schedule today. I will do a little house cleaning today and perhaps if it does get to 60 as promised I'll air up the bike and hit the trail around the lake once.
Last night Da' Barb's went to their weekly Weight Watchers class. Both are well on their way to success. Barb didn't gain on our trip and in fact lost a pound. Dave's wife Barb has hit the 20 lb loss level and we are proud of her hard work. I have high hopes that somewhere down the line her blood sugar problems work their way out of her system and she and her Doctor think she can work on a Grand Child. We love Dave and Barb either way but getting to spoil a grand chillen' or two would be the icing on the cake. We have enough in our life to love, but have more love to give if there becomes an appropriate target. We would settle for any race or religion at this point but I'm sure that they haven't given completely up on one of their own.
I had better quit this rambling on and get on with resting up from resting up. MUD


Why Arizona?

We grew Weary of being in the cold and wanted to be where even the Cactus looked sun burnt. This beautiful Prickly Pear Cactus was seen growing along the road and I just had to get a picture.

As we flew over western Kansas the view from our plane window was a coating of snow and it looked as cold as it had been most of January

Here is Barbara on our first day out in the flora and Fauna of Arizona. Shortly after this picture was taken she shed her sweatshirt.

We had a couple of days with cooler weather but compare to the scenes of the snowstorm blowing across the heartland I think we made a pretty good choice.
My nose thinks it is a water faucet as it drips and drips. So far there is nothing but clear snot but I really do wish it would dry up and blow away. Oh well, I can't be in the nicest place in the US and not have a few problems. MUD


Barb and I are at Fort Huachucha, AZ. We left the Heartland to escape the cold and bad weather. Unfortunately yesterday was cold and windy here and not near as much fun as we expected. To make matters worse the cold I avoided in Kansas came with me and I carry a box of Kleenex to avoid the dribbles. I will try to post some pictures later today. I had a major meltdown of my computer AT&T software and lost most of my e-mail addresses. I will work on getting them re-established when I get home.
Better get on with the day. Write if you get work!
MUD & Bobwa from the Desert Southwest


Cinnamon Rolls

Went to the local school at 6 Am and made 1200 cinnamon rolls for a fund raiser tonight. Man do I smell like a bakery. I am going to go get cleaned up and get a haircut. I will stay off my feet as much as possible as it took 7 hours to make all the rolls. SMELLS so sweet, feels so beat, has aching feet, can we all go to Tecumseh South on Tecumseh Street. Actually the fund raiser is at Shawnee Heights Elementary School but hey, I'm not going. MUD


To all of the Ladies out there

Happy Valentines Day! I cannot imagine living in a world where there were not women. You give us the ability to be ourselves without all the posturing. You unconditionally love us and give us a good reason to show our nice side.
I have spent 39 wonderful years with Barbara and I think this is one of the first I have not sent a Valentine. I don't remember if I sent one in 1969 but I'm pretty sure I was home shortly after that to share our 8X38 rolling love machine. (OK, it was a Rolla Mobile home and a not too pretty one at that.) It was sure a lot more important to have us together than it was where we were together.
Barb and I will have a special Valentines Day meal next week in Tucson where the warm weather will rule. We will probably take our cameras and shoot the flora and fauna ad nauseum.
Spent the day in a Language Arts Class with Sophomores and Juniors. It was a good time had by all (OK, I had fun) It was kind of Ironic that I failed Freshman English in High School and here I am teaching it.
I'd better get back to the game. I love you Barb. Dennis


Get the Hell out of Dodge

Barb and I celebrated our 39th wedding Anniversary yesterday and we started to look for opportunities to get out of town to place/places warmer than Kansas. We have decided that Tucson looks pretty darned good for next week. The waiting for a couple of weeks made the air fares drop by 50% so we are going to wait a few more days. It is not like after 39 years that a week one way or the other will make a lot of difference.
Speaking of cold weather, have you had your February shock looking at the gas bill? For years we heated and cooled this joint (3000 sq ft) for around $100 a month for gas and electricity. Our gas bill alone was $170 this month. Mom keeps the little house up nearer 78 and her bill was $200.00 What a shock... The good news is she can afford to pay that bill. I worry that there are a lot of people out there that can't.
Monday and Tuesday this week are Teacher in-service days so I won't get called. I am fairly committed for the rest of the week. On the 15th, I am going in early to make cinnamon rolls for a school dinner that night. The real reason is I love their rolls and I want to know how to make them. You never know when I might want to open a chili/cinnamon roll parlor. Top that off with a big cup of coffee in the winter and an iced tea in the summer and perfection. There will always be the big ol'e glass of milk available and orange slices (if the prices ever come back down after the California freeze.) I want it to be something like the soup Nazi kitchen on Seinfeld but with laughs. I just can't abide hateful people even if their food is good. One of my friends (yes, there are a few out there) owns a Taco stand that puts him right out there meeting the public and he loves it. I love to visit him and laugh at ourselves for getting old. I'm not sure if we are laughing at ourselves or if senility has set in and we laugh because it isn't manly to cry.
I am in the laundry chair today because I didn't finish the job yesterday. I figured that with Monday and Tuesday off, I could delay a little bit. Barb did a couple of loads yesterday. Did you know that you should sort the colors by fabric type? Never saw that one coming? Learned a lesson by asking why Barb was using a different setting on the dryer. It was pointed out to me that cotton fabrics are on high and synthetic fabrics should be on a more moderate heat. Crap, I thought not washing the red stuff with the white stuff was enough.
Oh well, Have a great week. MUD


Border War!

The hype of the Missouri - Kansas basketball game on Saturday was so over done that I laughed most of the way through the second half. If the Hawks score more than 80 points they can beat anybody. If the score near 60 they will get whipped. Most of that is their own attitude and confidence more than the other team. One announcer did make a statement that rang true. Right now there are probably only three teams that can beat Florida. Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas (Perhaps we are on that list because we beat them?) I would love to see the final Four be Texas A&M against Kansas and North Carolina against Florida. Follow that with a North Carolina Vs Kansas where Kansas beats "Roy's boys" and my season would be complete. What will happen? Who Knows but hang on the season is getting to the fun part and will be over way too soon.

Movies I have seen and Loved

Strange thing boys and girls, as much as I love to read, I also love to see a good movie. There are a few that I found noteworthy. Here are a few of them.
  • I could not start a list without the latest I saw last night. It was "Hannibal Rising" a horror flick about the beginning of the notorious Hannibal Lecter. One strange young man in a strange movie that I am not sure I would have enjoyed had I not read the book first. But I did and they did a good job bringing the horror to the screen.
  • If you want the crap scared out of you you have to watch Jody Foster in the "Silence of the Lambs". This is the first time Hannibal comes to the screen and is one scary movie. The basement scene near the end is just scary as hell.
  • One of the most graphic and accurate movies I have seen is "Saving Private Ryan". At least three times I had flashes where I wanted my helmet and a rifle. You cannot watch without being involved.
  • If having your arghhhh factor kick in is important to you, I would have to say that "ARACHNIPHOBIA" scared the living crap out of me. At least twice I had to go out of the theater and get my blood pressure back under control. Simple story but real spiders.
  • I think I have seen every John Wayne Movie out there and don't think there is one where the Duke doesn't play the Duke. Strange thing is I don't seem to mind. Ya' know what I mean? His best had to be the "Walking Man" where he was an American boxer returning to his roots in Ireland. I know that Maureen O'Hara helped make that movie special.
  • Strange movies, the Sergio Leone Spaghetti westerns, "Fist full of dollars, For a Few Dollars More and the Good, the Bad and the Ugly" are just almost too good to pass up. I got to sit through all three at Fort Sill, OK one weekend and it let me escape what was a tough place at a tough time. Turn the corner on the decade and Clints "Dirty Harry" movies are just as much fun for me.

Do you see a trend here? Not many romance movies make my list of favorites. I have been happy with several of Denzel Washington's movies but the "Crimson Tide" (Duh, a movie about the Navy) leads that list. Gene Hackman's character made it even better.

Just as I cited John Wayne for being one dimensional, one of my favorites is John Lithgow because he never plays the same role twice. His Transsexual nurse on "The World According to Garp" couldn't be different from the Professor he played on TV's "Third Rock From the Sun" (Ok, I'll admit that the Kristen Johnson role of the Male Officer trapped in the Female Body also tickled the crap out of me)

I'm not sure where Tom Hanks got to be such a good actor but he has done some pretty nice roles. If you didn't laugh at "BIG" you are dead from the neck up. His role in "Cast Away" carried the movie. Look up Tom Hanks on the net and the movies he made pretty much are on my list.

that's All Folks. MUD


Four Days Off

Thanks to two days of Inservice Monday and Tuesday of next week, I will manage to decompress from substitute teaching most of last week. That combined with my "mail-in" drug company not sending me my blood pressure medicine in a timely manner made Thursday and Friday less fun that I wanted. I am trying to decide if my headache is a residual of the high blood pressure or due to the exposure of germs from the hundred or so snotty noses.
Barb and I will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary tomorrow. It was a long time ago in a far away place that Barb and I made our vows at the "Chapel of the Bells" in Las Vegas. Where has the time gone? Seems like we have been on the journey of life so hard that time just flew away. Oh well, this is just the start of another 39. In case you can't tell, I love her.
Somewhere in the past, I have read about men that purchase practical items for gifts. I struggle with the idea that Barb has everything she needs and money enough to buy anything she wants. I could always purchase candy and flowers but now that she and Barb are doing the weight watchers thing that is not the best move. Oh well, I'm sure that spending some time with her today will help her to understand that need for the down coat with a hood or a new Computer is just the ticket for an anniversary gift. What do I need? Nothing really. I would like to have an airconditioner in the truck and a paint job but Barb fully supports me and it is my own damn fault I don't have that done. I would like to win the lottery (Why I really don't know) and buy my own tickets.
I loved the sign that Mom had on the back of the door in Arkansas. It was, "Happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have." I have so much that I am starting to hate the clutter. I really understand the modern look but wonder what they do with the junk they removed to have that look. Don't tell me to store it. I have a storage space and a garage (actually two if you count one bay at the rental house) full of stuff. I actually have tools I thought I needed and have not used. I have dogs that I don't play with and an outside cat that must wonder what the hell is going on. Food shows up but we don't seem to cross paths. There are a pair of birds upstairs that just make one hell of a racket and a mess.
If you really want to see what the future looks like, do some work at the local elementary school. You will come away with a full understanding of how much work it is to help shape the future through the kids. They truly are what is going to make tomorrow great. I am going to figure out a way to help the fifth grade teacher get a rope around that fifth grade class be better citizens. It is my duty to help not just complain. I'm sure their parents love them and want the best for them.


Geez Louise!

To all of the K-State Fans out there, You can keep the character building, we want wins. in spite of all the things the K-State fans said, they were humiliated last night in Lawrence. Everything they tried to do well was a bust. The shots from the outside, the ball handling, their inside play most went for naught. They did have one guy that could drive and score but other than one guy they couldn't hit a bull in the butt with a base fiddle. Yes, I'll wait until next year when you are better but don't hold your breath. We won't get another shot at Texas A&M but we will again come to your home and do our best to help you build character as we win again.
Today I was a substitute with a sorry group of fifth graders. They were rude, noisy and just down right sloppy. They created a mess in the room that was just not right. I really feel for their teacher. She has her hands full and need to be given some relief.
Oh well, when the wife gets home we are going out to dinner. Write if you get work... Dennis


My list of me!

I AM: Nearing the age of 60. I am growing older and watching my youth slip away. I can still ride my bike and with the wind blowing through my hair, smile at the joy. I am not the man I once was and sometimes,I am not the man I was, once.
I SAID: I believe in truth and hate it when people are not truthful. I am rude to people that say things that are not true.
I WANT: to continue to have everything I need and having most of what I want. I never want to have everything I want because that would make me stale and unwilling to do things to finish that wants list.
I WISH: Everyone was willing to get out there and struggle, fight and work for better days. It is when you give up that fight or never start fighting that all is lost. There does need to be a time that you have enough of what you need. Hopefully there is a Walmart store nearby for those things you want. (This is a metaphore people- don’t jump on me because of your own personal preferences. If you don’t want to shop there, don’t)
I HATE: To hate… Why can’t people just get along and do their own thing.
I MISS: very darned little. In fact, I wish I had fewer things to rubble up my life.
I FEAR: that I have little fear. Sometimes I wonder how close I come to not living to the next day because I sometime don’t step away from situations and things that could get me killed.
I HEAR: A constant ringing in my ears because of tinnitus. Years in the Artillery and high blood pressure will do that to you. Thank god I can still read lips.
I WONDER: Just how long I have to live. I will live to the end and be glad for the time I had.
I REGRET: Not being able to see the alternative futures I could have lived. I have often wondered what my life would have brought if I had gone to flight school. I treasure that I met Barbara but still wonder what “might have been if?”
I AM NOT: Much, but what stands before you. I am darned straightforward, outspoken, loving, caring and sometimes hard. But, I am not devious.
I DANCE: very little on the outside but often I soar in my dreams.
I SING: As much as I can as often as I can. I think I love the pre-school work because they sing and dance and laugh with you and never at you.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: kind. I often scare myself at how ruthless I can be.
I Made: a lot of money in my lifetime and Barbara knows where most of the gold is buried.
I WRITE: as much as I can to learn and let the words escape. I think my spelling gets better because of spell checker kicks all my stupid words out with a red squiggle.
I CONFUSE: names because I am getting old. Not that I was ever all that good. I loved the Military where we all wore nametags.
I NEED: (See Wants above and you will understand.)
I SHOULD: keep trying to be a nicer person.
I START: A lot of things and finish some.
I FINISH: the absolute necessary and some of the fun and avoid the dull drab and un fun.
I BELIEVE: That in the end, the person with the most things, still dies.
I KNOW: That every day I don’t learn something new, I do not progress. For example did you know there is a second verse of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, knees and toes. I think it is something like neck, hips, back and legs. I also know that I am not young enough to do the fast version of Head and shoulders. But I can joyfully sing and laugh and smile when we do.
I CAN: Take a group of people and solve about any problem. I love to watch people grow and achieve.
I CAN’T: abide people that absolutely refuse to grow or move from where they are in their life.
I SEE: a lot of things in black and white. I believe in justice and not fairness. In fact, I often shout that no one ever said life was fair. Yellow snow is seldom lemonaide.
I BLOG: Because Becky harassed me until I did. I continue to Blog because I find the outlet refreshing.
I READ: as much as my eyes will allow. I love WEB Griffin and a lot of horror books. I don’t read mysteries because they make feel stupid that I didn’t know it was Col Mustard in the Study with the candlestick..
I AM AROUSED BY: Not near as many things as I once was. I still admire the female figure but not near as much as I once did.
I FIND: A lot of things that I have lost and didn’t even miss them. I often lose things and find them because I stumbled onto them in the process of my life.
I LIKE: Dogs, most pets, warm days and bikesI LOVE: Barbara, David, Dave’s wife Barbara, the thought that someday they too will have everything they need and most of what they want.



Normally I have time during the week (and energy) to do daily chores around the place. Because I have been working a lot this past couple of weeks I have fallen behind. Is that a symptom of old age? Fallen behind? This morning I started with making sure that all of god's creatures were fed. The cockatiels, the cat, the outside birds, Barb and me... I can write my name on the inside of the windows from the accumulated dust and grime. There is a family of dust bunnies behind the furniture here in the basement that could overpopulate any residence. For the sake of my sanity I won't mention the floor in our bathroom.
I can see the flights of birds landing in the feeder to the south of the downstairs. They line up in the trees and stage closer and closer until they get to swoop in and get a seed. They re-stage and keep moving closer bird after bird. You can always tell a newcomer as they try to sit in the feeder and eat. They soon get chased out and learn the pattern. I haven't seen any hawk kills in the yard lately. The hawks like big fat juicy blue jays and I have watched as a hawk swooped in and killed one of a pair that regularly came in to eat.
I notice that it will be almost 20 degrees warmer in Idaho and Elko, NV today than it will be here. There is a winter front attached to the jet stream that has drug single digit overnight lows to Kansas. It takes a lot of sunshine to overcome that low. The snow squeaks when you walk on it. The truck sits outside and it cranks v e r y s l o wwwww. Even Dave called and asked if the power steering on the Olds needs looked at because it is so slow when you first start up the car. I told him that the slush and dirt probably has the seals on the rack and pinion steering so grimy that it takes a while to overcome the frozen ice. The truck steers like a truck but, duh Dennis it is a truck. It seems like weeks since I have seen a clean car in Topeka.
Oh well, better do something before Barb asks me again what am I doing. MUD

Say What?

As I read one of the Blogs today, I read that Barak Obama is trailing Hillary in the Black vote. It seems that he is not "Black" enough for some people. Somewhere, it seems, people have lost sight of the fact that our goal is to not have him described as a black man but the "Senator from Ohio". He happens to be black but that should not be the defining thing about him.
Senator Obama is the American born son of an African and a White woman from Kansas. He is a little more liberal than I want him to be but way less liberal than Hillary. Whomever is the next President will have their hands full righting the ship of state and putting us back on the path for success. Do too much for the people and they will lose their initiative to work. Do too little and they will not go fight for "theirs". Stop spending as much and the economy will grind to a halt. Continue to spend too much and the $ will devalue and we will continue to decline against the world currencies. I think the biggest thing our government needs to do is to help our businesses produce the goods our consumers want and need. Let China sell their electronics to the Arabs for Oil. We need to produce items that generate renewable energy (Solar, wind and water) We need to build more efficient cars and houses. We sure as hell need to pay our teachers what they are worth or start forgiving their student loans as they teach. The improvement in our society will need to be built on a strong foundation of education. It makes me sad that we are willing to pay a suspected doped up Baseball player 15 million dollars a year (Barry Bonds) and pay our teachers $30,000 a year.
I have been working in the "Special Ed" room for most of the last month and have really found a love for the kids as they work. I have been a taskmaster but most of the students have responded to me with hard work. I don't find ability linked to color. There are a lot of little kids that will continue to work hard and overcome or they will be trapped in jobs that don't include a lot of writing and math. Is that all bad? Someone had to do those jobs. I am going to return to being a regular substitute teacher starting next Monday and I'll miss all my little friends. Even if the do reverse their B's and D's. To the Wesley's, Rickies, Kylas's and Brads out there good luck.