Why I hate Getting Old(er)

My biggest complaint about getting older is that I have more and more factoids stored in my brain and there are times I just can't remember why they are there. For example under the Category: Paper, Subcategory: Toilet Paper aka Toilet Tissue, I have the name Cottonelle stored. The problem is when I get to the store I can't remember if Cottonelle is that wimpy thin crap that doesn't hold up or if it is that stuff that gets the job done and lord forbid you have the runs as it wipes off a layer of skin with each use. Yes, somewhere in the middle is the quilted stuff that is just right but who can tell when the rolls are in a double wrap of plastic. Add to the fact that you just have to but the six pack of four rolls each to get the best price and bingo, you will have a years supply of tissue that you hate. No, I didn't say I hate Cottonelle, I said I couldn't remember if I hate it or not. Crap.

I haven't had a good record remembering everything I need to remember over the years and now as I have real overload of things just get jumbled and I find myself looking at a garage full of half used boxes of nails. I never seem to be able to find the right kind of nails until I have a new box and then bingo I have to move the half used box to get to the new box. Crap... Double Crap.

Another problem I have is that it is hard to remember to throw things away when they have really out used their usefulness or when I discover that the product is unable to perform to the expected standards. Yes, I once bought an electric drill because it was cheaper than the entire set of bits I needed to do a job. Yes, I found that drill, dead as a door nail the other day. I remember seeing the charger for the battery sometime this year but I can't remember where. I guess it really isn't important as the battery no longer would hold a charge and the battery costs more than the drill did. Not that I would remember what the hell the battery number was the next time I'm anywhere there are batteries. Triple Crap.

The other day I heard that someone said that old men need Viagra and if that didn't work they needed to take Ginkgo Buloba so you could remember what an erection was like. Hell, it took me three days to remember Ginkgo Baloba and I am never at a Health Food Store when I do. Quad Crap...
I am of the age where you went to school and came out with a degree and no student loans. We worked, saved and went into the service for the GI Bill. I am sad for people that have student loans bigger than their home loan. For them I say Crap five times. (I don't know the Latin word for five)

I am going to stop listening to talk radio. Our local station has started to carry Dave Ramsey and hell, I could give out his words of wisdom. Make more or spend less. Save some damn money and pay off your bills. I am also tired of hearing the same stupid questions. Uh, Dave, I owe $40,000 in student loans, $20,000 on credit cards and have a home mortgage of $250,000. My wife just got pregnant and I'm not sure I can make it on my salary of $10 per hour. Duh... Get a second job delivering Pizza, never see your wife and pay, pay, pay. then save, save, save.. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap......crap.

Oh well, I'm going out to the garage and see if I need to buy or throw away toilet paper or that damn drill. I must need some Viagra so I can remember. What was it I was going to do?


Green Soggy Doggie

For those of us in the Heartland, the lack of sunlight is causing stress. Add to that the abundance of rain and the growing grass and it is down right disheartening. I look out to the south and all I see is green taking over the countryside. There is just no way I could even get out and walk down the slippery hill let alone mow. Oh well, a good book is waiting to be finished and a better book is waiting for me to get started.

Did ya' listen to the Presidential News Conference last night. Barry ended with the complaint that there were a lot of important things waiting for him when he started. Did he think it was going to be easy? Did he think that it wasn't work? He listed all the things that are problems and then added the Health Care issue. I think he needs to understand that Health Care is his issue added to the list. That one issue the a majority of us think can wait. He is the one that dealt that hand and he can fold it for now. Don't get me started about Education for now.

What do you think is important? For me it is to get the Government Spending under Control. Don't spend another dime until we are sure that we know what it is being spent on and what it is for. There needs to be a Government Accounting Office audit on how the stimulus got from 400 Billion to 1 trillion. Those responsible for Pork in that bill needs to be identified and the pork eliminated.

Jobs are important? Lets see, the President has eliminated the CEO of GM, is about to eliminate Pontiac and has hinted that Saturn as the last in may be the next out. How many million of people losing their jobs is that? I guess all that talk about jobs was just that, all talk.

Speaking of stupid things, I got a notice in the mail that my retirement check is going to increase by about $100. How you say? By lowering the amount of withholding they are taking out each month. Instead of doing a cross check to see if I paid enough in, they just cut the withholding. Crap, I paid a penalty last year because I didn't have enough coming out and now they withhold less. Yes, I got a monthly raise but will have to pay that and more back come the next tax year. Crap, no one is in charge.
Do you know when Cabin feaver has set in? When you drive to Lawrence to see the new Wal*Mart and to get a piece of that new Kentucky Grilled Chicken. How do you know when your wife also suffers that malady? When she goes with you.

Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day in August.



Emergency Post

My son, Dave gave me this book the other day and I started to read it without a lot of attention to the content. I'm not sure what I thought it was about but I just discovered it is about how the Government hypothetically screws up when the Asian Bird Flu over runs the world (in 2019) . The book is fiction but it is right on point concerning what we need to do now that the Human/Swine Flu is starting to infect people.

If you can get a copy I highly recommend you do and read it. It talks about all the mistakes that can be made. It really shouts how our desire for freedoms can doom us if a real epidemic strikes. If the Military won't submit to mandatory innoculations, what chance do we have with the general population.

We have already had our first fatality from the swine flu and it is in 63 locations in the US. We even had two people in Kansas come down with it. Just today, the Emergency Operation Center for the Kansas Guard opened for 12 hour per day operations. Partly for the flooding because of our Monsoon season that has set in but also to monitor the spread and incidents of the Flu.

I don't want to spook you to do stupid things, but the book " The Last Centurion" by John Ringo sure asks a lot of tough questions about our readiness for an emergency today.


The Life and Times of MUD Part 1

From 1947
to 1965

I read a story today about a person's adventures and what shaped them into what they are. I decided to try to capture some of the life transforming moments and share them with you. It is not a guide, but a travelogue. There is absolutely no guarantee that if you do what I did you will get what I got. (or so you should hope)

My earliest times are marked by the friends I had. The first and most favorite was Harvey. He was a year older and a grade ahead early on but he and I both had older sisters and we bonded to play together and still have contact. He is a couple of states away but with e-mail who knows where anyone is. In about the fourth of fifth grade Harvey broke his collar bone and missed a lot of school. That caused him to be kept in my grade the next year. Only lately has he admitted that it caused him some hard feelings to have his classmates go on without him. I thought it was cool to have him in some of my classes. I could go on and name several more but the longest and best friend tops the friends list. For the record, Ron, Eugene, Dennis L and who could forget the effect of Danny Rex on the kid from 544 Byrd Street.

My fourth grade teacher was the wife of my High School Assistant Principal. Mrs Moore shared my strange reading habit and encouraged her me to stick my head in a book and keep it there as much as possible. Perhaps it would be fair to say that she didn't prevent me from reading as much as I could. She tried everything to quell my adventurous nature but when she found that I could read and pass the tests she no longer had me sit in the front and in the hall or coat closet. At the end of the year, she told us that someone in the class was not going on to the fifth grade. Oh shit oh Dear, I was the first person in the family to flunk the fourth grade. Of course she was the only person not going on and it was a joke but you don't know how relieved I was to see those Ds on the card. I thought they meant D for Denny so I was happy.

What do you do with a child on a baseball team with attention deficit disorder? There is only one place that keeps the kid involved. Catcher! Either you pay attention of you get hit a lot. It didn't hurt that I could catch and throw out a runner going to second. No one stole third on my watch. Our pitcher Ken played third when he wasn't pitching and he just was glue on anything I threw his way. I alternated between catcher and first base over the years.

One of the problems today is that kids don't have the urge to ride bikes like we did. I swear that I probably wore out more old bikes going as far as I could. I remember one time we had gone so far that the hub on my bike got so hot it smoked. We dipped it in the water in a ditch and it smoked. I got it home but no amount of oil could unfreeze that sucker. Today I ride a recumbent bike where you sit down and look straight ahead. I have a rule that over 40, the seat on a man's bike must be larger than his prostate. If you ever have that region go numb once and you will never want it to happen again.

I think that kids today are too spoiled by being hauled to soccer, dance lessons, swim lessons and little league games. As a kid we would just start up the street with our bats and gloves until we had enough kids to play a game of baseball. In fact, there would often be more than enough and the outfield would be full of the little guys. It took a lot of leadership to conduct those games without fights and I'm sure that dealing with the mob mentality prepared me for the Military.

A paper route took almost my entire 9th grade year. From the age of 13 to 14, I walked the streets of my neighborhood twice a day delivering the paper. That was also the year that I grew from 5 foot 4" to 6 foot 2". I wore out shoes like they were going out of style and changed entire wardrobes at least three times. I know I wore the soles off three pairs of tennis shoes and two pairs of boots. My favorite clothes at the time was the T-shirt and sweat shirt. Many days here in Kansas you would start out in the morning in a sweat shirt and coat and in the evening be in a t-shirt. I can't remember wearing anything but jeans as pants. When you are walking at least three miles and carrying a bundle of newspapers you didn't need long underwear to keep your legs warm. I'll bet I lost a hundred pairs of those brown jersey gloves that year. You just couldn't fold the paper with them on and you had to have them when you weren't.

Cars were a big part of my life. From the first Hillman that I shared with my sister to the Volvo I had the darnedest collection of old heaps. They were : The Hillman Californian, a Mini Minor, a 55 Chevy, a Renault Daphene (That one was Dad's idea not mine) and a Volvo. I think I spent as much time working on this line of heaps as I did driving them. I'm sure that had I spent all my money on one new(er) car I would have been better off. Oh well, I worked in a gas station so I had a lot of guidance.

For the record, I told one of my nieces that I would mention the Maytag dishwasher in this post. It washes dishes with the best of them but the model I have must have had a bad run of plastic parts. Almost every clip on the baskets have broken off and the final blow was the roller on the upper basket. The old model had a screw in a small wheel and when it broke, it took a $40 part to replace it because of a design change. I was glad I could fix it but a small wheel that costs a couple of dollars makes a lot of sense instead of replacing the entire basket lowering mechanism with the wheels riveted on. Oh well.



In My Humble Opinion (IMHO) Part 2

Wash your hand often and don't kiss them piggies

A While back, I did a post about some of the things I feel strongly about. I offer these comments to let you hear what this old retired conservative guy is thinking about some of the news of the day:

  • I am not sure who started the absolute non agreement going on in Washington but they had better start showing some leadership or the people who get to vote will end it. Instead of just dismissing the TEA (Tax Enough Already) rallies, the Democrats need to try to understand that most of us understood the 400 Billion bail out but were dismayed when it went to 1 Trillion before it could get enough votes to pass. Now, I love smoked Pork Loin but that was a double dipping of pure pork fat and it doesn't take 20/20 vision to be worried about the effect on the future. Why don't they care, or at least act like they do.

  • A few years back the Oldsmobile dealer here in Topeka had the rear ends of their cars facing Kansas Avenue. To put it mildly, they were so ugly that I stopped into the dealership and complained. The sales manager let me rant and then he said, how would I like to work there and look at the rear of those cars all day? The cars were facing out because customers were driving into the lot and then driving on because the rear ends of the Oldsmobiles were so ugly. Needless to say, Oldsmobile as a brand closed shortly thereafter. This is the same feeling that I now have when I look at the Buick line. So, what line is GM being told to close? Pontiac. We are going to lose the line that produced the GTO, the Firebird and the Bonneville. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30438302/displaymode/1247/ Click here for the Pontiac story and pictures.
  • Can you name any of the cars in the Buick line? What the heck is a LeSalle anyway? Where does common sense keep the GMC line open when it it is just a duplication of the Chevrolet Truck line?

  • What does it say about our automobiles when a new PT Cruiser sells for $20,000 + and a two year old Cruiser is $12,000? A new Mini Cooper sells for the same $20,000 and two years old sells for $18,000. Guess who won't probably ever drive a new car again? (Unless I win the lottery)

  • The average household Credit Card Debt in 2006 was just short of $10,000. That was an article today in the headlines of my home page. How come the Internet news site is using two year old data to make a point? Because the debt per household has fallen to just over $8,000. Sounds like someone was using bad data to support a worse idea. Instead of celebrating that the average debt has fallen almost 20% they just used old data. And they wonder why people don't believe in the media anymore.

  • As far as I am concerned the electronic system has almost eliminated the check as a payment method. In fact a lot of the people we send snail mail checks send the bank an acknowledgement and not the check. The bank charges us if we really want our paper check copies back. Now if they could come up with a system that replaces Visa's name on my debit card. I don't want people to think that I have to use my credit card to buy things at Wal*Mart. If you want an insult, try writing a check at Wal*Mart. They think so little of your check that as soon as it goes through their machine they hand you back the paper. They don't want to even have their lowest paid workers handle the checks.

The weather her is typical spring in Kansas. The rain is scheduled to roll in all week and the rivers are bank full. By August there will be one inch cracks in the ground and we will wish some of that rain had waited. The only part of the rain that bothers me now is that it is too wet to mow and I need to get out soon.



Wet Stormy Weather

We watched the clouds a lot Saturday and Sunday

Larry was in Topeka this weekend

For those of us in the Heartland, it is fairly normal to spend at least one day in the spring watching the local channel and having them break away from the programming to show us the latest weather radar. Two days in a row we have watched big red globs lining up with the Kansas Turnpike somewhere down in Oklahoma and travel north like a freight train of wet windy weather. For the most part when they were loaded with winds going two directions (SPINNING) went either East of us or West. After having a tornado throw us out of our home in 1983, we are always a little more unsettled in bad weather. Saturday night I probably only got 5 or 6 hours sleep. I made up for it last night by sleeping at least 10, with a nap thrown in during the day.
Yesterday evening I just got tired of sitting on the couch and made a pie. This time I used a combination of sour cherries, blueberries and cranberries all from one package. The cherries didn't rehydrate as well as I would have liked but it was darned good pie. I did make a mistake and didn't wet down the cornstarch to melt it when I added it to the juice to thicken the pie. I had to strain out the lumps and clumps and add the cornstarch again. It worked out OK but it wasn't attractive in the sauce pan. Yes, I know there was a top crust on the pie and you couldn't tell in the finished product. One of these days I am going to try to do an apple pie with a crust from scratch.

Have you taken advantage of the pork loin roast prices lately? They vary from just over a dollar a pound to just less than 2 dollars a pound. Talk about your great white meat at a cheap price. I have a rotisserie on the Weber grill and do double duty when I cook my pork loin. I can cook chicken or beef on one side of the grill, put all the coals and hickory on one side and hang the loin right down the middle. One of these days I am going to find a way to keep the temp down about 200 degrees and do a long smoky stint for one of the loins. Right now I can get the temp down to 350 to 400 degrees and about 2 hours makes it done by temperature. There isn't many meats much better or versatile than a pork loin. With a good marinade and a stint over hickory smoke there isn't much better to cook with. I have had the loins cut into 3/4 inch slices with brown gravy, a wonderful sandwich on a hoagie bun and small pieces in pinto beans. There is enough left to put with one of those steam in bags of stir fry vegetables for one more meal. Heck, the night we had the medallions in brown gravy, the kids took home at least one meal of the loin and potatoes. That makes the cost of the meat to about 1 dollar for each person/meal served.

Yea, I heard the first newscaster call it the Human/swine flu virus. So it isn't all the pigs fault. Especially those poor Mexican pigs. If you kiss or shake hands with a pig, wash your hands a lot. If you feel sick, stay home and nurse yourself. Don't drag the flu to work and make others sick.

Over the weekend, Larry the Cable Guy came to Topeka. He filled the house at our Performing Arts Center. I did the numbers and saw there is just no way they could have paid him his $250,000 per night. With the max number of seats at 2500 and the tickets about $40 and two shows the max box office is about $200,000.00. Poor Larry he had to do two shows and I'm sure that it worked him hard to make about $75,000 and hour. According to the newspaper Larry and I both poke fun of Hillary and ALGORE. Most of my quotes can be printed in polite company and neither of his could.
Oh well, enough ramble, have a great day, week, year out there (Pick one) I will.


I Believe

Today I turned on the Sunday morning program of NPR to hear what the other side is saying about life. One of the topics is the final run of the "I Believe" segment. Almost 300 people have written what they believe strongly and that phase of the NPR broadcasts is finally closing. I truly think it is good for people to write what they believe and feel strongly about. A lot of you read this blog and know what I write and I hope that from that you can determine what I believe. Here are a few again:

  • I believe in Free Speech. It isn't free speech if you can just holler "shut the fuck up" and have people go away. You don't truly want free speech unless you are willing to let the worst kind of people you know say the worst kind of things. You don't have to agree, you have to allow them to say it. Yes, I know I have written that stupid speech should be outlawed. You know what I mean. We have all heard things that just are fundamentally so stupid that deep down not even Rush Limbaugh could believe it. (Note, he will often say it but I don't think he believes everything he says)

  • I believe that Liberals are for the most part as concerned about out liberties as conservatives. In my humble opinion, they feel that the role of Government is to pass laws to guarantee the rights of people. I feel that we already have too damn many laws and they often, while good intentioned, make it difficult for the majority. Perhaps life has been too easy for me and that has shaded my thinking but hell, I started out poor and worked darned hard to get here. Perhaps Barb worked hard to get me here but let's not split hairs.

  • The only grass in my life is the kind that needs mowed. I plug my radio in and wear ear muffs to listen and get out there and mow. Barb thinks it is stupid to mow grass but she will sit and read a book for hours. To me they are a related activity and I think there is little better than the smell of freshly mowed grass and it is pretty.

  • I think the editors of radio programs and newspapers owe it to their employees to tell them to think about what they write and say. For example just this morning it was reported that our Secretary of State went to Beirut to tell them that they need to bar outside influences in their upcoming elections. Isn't her telling them that outside involvement? Isn't reporting that information a part of what is wrong? If the current administration think we need to play nicer with the world, why are we telling the Lebanese what to do? Don't they have enough problems of their own that we need to export our thoughts to them? I think the reporter should have said that Hillary is there to consult with them about their upcoming elections.

  • Isn't calling the latest round of the flu the "Swine Flu" kind of hard on the pigs? Isn't it enough that we use them for breakfast food and ham enough? Stay away from the pigs, you'll catch that flu and die. Especially those damned Mexican pigs. Everyone knows that south of the border no one can drink the water.

Oh hell, if all I am going to do is babble on, I might as well shut this train down. More from the station of IMHO in Tecumseh, By God, Kansas. And don't you forget it.



Greener Saturday

The warmer it gets, the more the world turns green here at Rabbit Run. In fact, I have already mowed a little and had my renter call that the air conditioner doesn't cool enough. I'm sure that I will continue to mow and the service guy will be there next Wednesday and put some coolant in the line. Not sure why it leaks but it does.
Some time in the future I am going to replace the furnace and air conditioner at that house but not today.

Today I am going to the Library and talk to the kids about food. Specifically we will make some trail mix for them and show them how much better the homemade type is. I am going to get a bag of chips and trail mix on the way there as an example. I don't think parents know just how much fat and salt there is in most of what the kids snack on. The kids don't care but it is a chance to meet and greet them with a little snack size baggy of Cheerios and pretzels. Throw in a scoop of dried cranberries and they all smile. (Did I mention a few pretzels?)

Barb's car is at 109,000 miles and still going strong. I thought that for sure it would get to Tulsa and have to limp home. Seems like a good run on the highway just makes it stronger. Probably will have to put a new set of tires on it if we are going to road trip it this summer. How many times this week has the phone at your house rang and there is a recording from someone telling you your warranty is about to expire and they want to sell you insurance to keep your car running? I have to tell you that the warranty on the 96 Buick expired over 50,000 miles ago and there is just no way that I'm going to join in some scam to ensure that it is on its way out. This is one time that insure or ensure both fit.

Better get my act together and go get ready for the fun and adventure with the kids at the Library.



Quick Trip to Skiatook

First thing Mom said to me was, "Sorry your razor broke"

This is my brother Rick and Mom

Does this look like $200 to you?

For some reason this sign just seemed strange to Barb. Hay Capitol of the world?

Yesterday Barb and I made a quick trip to Skiatook, OK to see my mother on her birthday. She turned 87 and we laughed at our old jokes. Barb picked out a card that played the song Tequila and as soon as the card started playing the cat ran out of the room as hard as she could and didn't come back while we were there.

It was in the high 80's there and feels like it is in the mid 80's here today. We made a stop at Arnold's Greenhouse (By Burlington, KS) and barb bought another car trunk full of green things to plant. I guess that's what Master gardeners do, Plant.

After four hours in the car and an hour in a green house, I feel a nap coming on. Have a great day out there.



Happy Earth Day

On the Farm Tour last year, we ended the day at a Bison Farm. No, not a buffalo as it is commonly called but a Bison ranch. At one time, the summer was marked by having hundreds of thousands of these creatures coming here each spring and an explorer once said that you could have crossed miles of the prairie by walking on their backs. The Republican river in north central Kansas would turn brown with bison crap after the heard crossed that area. The legend is that the Indians called it the shit river because of that.

Today I am going to the Library at 3 PM and working with the County people to show kids what a healthy snack looks like. We are going to measure the weight of grapes and mix some trail mix. Barb is going to Tecumseh South Elementary and planting the butterfly garden. Kids in several grades have been growing the plants from seeds and hopefully when they come back in the fall it will attract the Monarch butterflies as they head south.

Things here are getting green and we are slowly working to clean up the debris from dead plants as they overwintered. I had to take the chainsaw and cut up a downed tree in the front yard. Barb has the garden in good shape and will soon start planting the tender plants. Our cold frame is full of plants that are not quite ready to be transferred out to the garden. The weatherman is saying that at least a week out the weather will remain above the deep freezing weather that can kill plants. We'll see.

We have been in contact with our friends in Morocco and they have a great itinerary planned for our time there. We will fly in and out of Europe through Spain and travel by train, plane and bus to and from Morocco. I hope to have a lot of pictures for later viewing. Now if I can only find the 4 MB card and that extra set of batteries. I don't have any hope that my charger will work in Europe.

Have a great day out there and get out and do something green.



Am I turning Moderate?

These pictures have nothing to do with the content of this blog. Barb likes them and I love her so here they are.

As I age, I find more and more things that make me less uptight. No, I find fewer and fewer things that piss me off. I guess that age is beginning to temper the desire to fan the flames and shout at stupid people doing stupid things. I would encourage our government out there to show some common sense about the things we do. Just a few examples:

There was a revolution about taxation without representation. Now I think they need to worry about the revolution from Taxation with lousy representation. Our leaders need to show up with some understanding of what is going on out here in the real world. Those of us that are not unemployed understand that there is no unending pot of money and just because a few people want to live in Detroit is no reason to spend money like there is no tomorrow.

How come one of the leading banks got billions and the market goes all to hell when they put aside 14 billion to cover bad debts? Isn't that what the bail out was for? Who is in charge out there? I think our President needs to talk to us and build our faith in our Government before he tries to sell it to the rest of the world.

I heard about five minutes of Rush Yesterday and he was shouting about the fact that he doesn't talk to his enemies and neither should Obama. After 8 years of that, isn't it time to start trying to do something different? Just because we have a constitution, doesn't meant that we have to stick our feet in concrete and do just what we always did. Remember the old saying - Do what you did and you will get what you got. I am not saying that hopey change will solve all our problems but hey it might change a little if we talk about changing. After less than 4 months in office you can't expect it to be daylight at midnight. (Well, there are some parts of way up north that that happens but not here in the heartland)

I still recommend that the current congress slow down and answer the following questions. What is the biggest problem? What can be done to fix it? Can we afford to fix it? If so, fix that one and move on to the next problem. It is like they are hunting deer with a shotgun. Not with deer slugs, but bird shot. What the hell do they hit that they can fix? If 400 Billion was the solution to the banking problem why did that amount grow to one trillion? Turn the economy around and then talk about health care. We can't afford to fix it today.

Oh well, plant a garden folks, it may be a lean year out there.



Helping the Master Gardeners

This is Dave our son in his Best Buy shirt as he helps the kids play on a game at the Master Gardener's booth at the zoo. Best Buy loaned us their Air Card so the kids could see what a on line computer spider does. We went from the zoo to the Library on Friday and spent the day surrounded by fun people.
This is me at the Library. Did you notice the dachshund on the floor? She has a litter of dachshunds/beagle cross breeds and she and the kids are all adoptable. Guess who wanted to go and get her today? Guess who told me to go play with the dogs I have?

Our local talk radio has been on a kick to lose all their local talent and bring only the National programs to the Topeka market. They have been carrying Dave Ramsey in the mornings prior to Rush Limbaugh. Barb will let me listen to Dave and bristles at Rush. It never ceases to amaze me that there is a large number of people out there that don't get the value of money. It is pretty simple that you have to spend less than you take in on the long run. I think that we started our working lives with a monthly paycheck(s). It was pretty simple to understand that you spent the last day of the month like the first day of the month and then only spent after you had paid all your bills. Back then, we didn't even qualify for a credit card and we carried cash for everything. Barb wrote checks for the bills and we lived a pretty simple life. Notice I didn't say frugal. We drove a newer car then than we do now.
In spite of the lower cost pace of our life now, I find that we are in the accumulation mode of "Stuff". In fact I have even talked about building a storage building so we will have more places for stuff. Yes, the simple solution would be to de-stuff our lives. Good Luck on that.
The one side of life that has been fun lately is our volunteer work for Master Gardeners and Master Food Volunteers. So far it has been a chance to meet a lot of people and see the smiles on kids faces. I do come home and take a nap afterwards, but I take a nap even when we don't go places. I guess it is the simple things that makes life fun.
This week is my mother's birthday. She was born 4/23/22. Might even make a run to Tulsa on Thursday to take her a pie. She now has a rule that if she can wear it or eat it she doesn't need it. She really likes to see people and I think her favorite is smiles and hugs.
Better go see what the Master gardener has in store for us today.


Went to the Zoo Yesterday!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

If I was in charge!

If Somehow, tomorrow I woke up, "in Charge" these are some of the things I would do.
  • In every community there are houses that the Government owns that are going to rot. I would search through the Military and find people that can paint, plumb and fix things up and refurbish one home. Into that home, I would select one member from each branch of the service and their job would be to work with the local schools to provide mentors for the kids there. They would provide security for kids at the local Boys and Girls clubs, playground assistants to cause the kids to do exercises and games in an organized manner. They would go into the class rooms to help teachers with the "at risk" kids (They know what I mean) I would do one home for each school that is having trouble meeting their goals from the "No Kids Left Behind" program. The service members would do this TDY and every person from the newest private to the oldest General would do at least 30 days of this per year.
  • I would announce that after 50 years, Cuba has had enough. We have punished the people there long after the shine on that star has faded. Hell, if I can travel to China and Vietnam, there just isn't a good reason we can't travel to Cuba. Did you know they drive the damnedest collection of old GM cars in the world. Classic Chevrolet ought to open up a store there and help them bring that collection of rag tag cars up to shape. I'll bet Mexico sells them thousands of dollars in car part each year. In my lifetime I want to sit on the beach just once in Cuba smoking on big Cuban Cigar and drinking a Cuba Libra. I think money is the quickest way to kill that old bug of Communism.
  • I would get right in the middle of the Military and tell them to get their act together. Why do we have an Army Reserve and an Army National Guard? I would eliminate the Army Reserve and the Air National Guard. I would join them at the hip and give them two years to tell us how they are going to do it. The Governors can use all the soldiers they can get and they don't (IMHO) need an air force.
  • While I am on the subject of the military, why does the Navy and the Marine Corps need their own air force? There is a need for a Ground, Air and Navy force in the Military. If they could all talk together and work together several Millions could be saved. Just a thought.
  • Why does someone who drops out of college get to play games for millions of dollars and teachers have trouble paying off their student loans? Why do we not celebrate teachers instead of big boys who play games?
  • For every road project in America, I would make it mandatory to have a bike lane built into the project. I'm talking about a three foot strip of asphalt added to let bike riders ride and save us gas as they do. I'll bet we could save billions in fuel savings and help a new industry get started (or revitalize an old industry) We are building those stupid roundabouts with out tax dollars at least we should get something worthwhile.
  • I would find a way to make the tax collection in our lives transparent. When you buy anything, the tax would go into a collection and we would not have to file once a year. I wouldn't give homeowners, car owners, people with many kids or anyone a break. Everyone that makes a dime pays a penny. If that isn't enough, make it two but the 15 April deadline would be gone. Instead of enforcing taxes on the average guy out here, put those people to work closing every loophole and collecting the money at the source.
  • If you are in the business of investing other people's money, you had better be careful that you aren't doing business with a Bernie Madoff. You will go to jail if you lose money because of stupid investments.

Just one final thought. In Science there is a statement that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Another statement that nothing just disappears, it transforms into something else. Where did all that money in retirement funds go?



Rainy Day in Kansas

Barb is off to the zoo bright and early today to work on a project with the Master Gardeners.  She is setting up a booth that talks about beneficial bugs.  I am not sure what this is all about but I think it is a part of the build up to Earth Day next Wednesday.  I think she is doing something that day also.  I have a project for the Master Foods Volunteers and will be busy that day also.

Barb has my laptop with her so she can show the kids a web site that has a spider on it.  Dave will be there in his Best Buy Shirt to talk about recycling and to help barb hook up an air card to the internet.  Best Buy is providing the card that will allow her to hook up from anywhere.  I sure hope she doesn't fall in love with it. I am writing this on her MAC and the lack of a right click button is hard for this old dog.  The edits and corrections are all done from a drop down menu at the top of the page and seems slow.  But you all know how attached the MAC people are to their old technology.  It processes faster even though I know my typing is the slow link in this process.  

We are getting closer and closer to our trip to Spain and Barb is working on the itinerary.  Once we get there we will turn ourselves over to the Reimers and go with their plans.  I am sure that they will have a lot of good things to do and just being with them will be worthwhile.   

This morning I saw that the daughter of one of Barb's co-workers won a Fulbright Scholarship for a year in Germany.  She will teach English and History in a school in Germany.  I think that it is neat that she has this chance.  We have a niece Mandy that spent a year there as an exchange student and we are proud of her accomplishments too.  

OH well, on with the day.




Dried Apricot Pie

Dried Apricot Pie
In our house, we don't eat apricot pie often. When the Master Food Volunteer "Pie Lady" gave us a demonstration, someone asked her about apricots in a pie. She said she always uses dried apricots as they are available year round. I used a package of pre-made pie crusts (2) and the Master Gardener approved of the pie. In fact, she was the person that took the pictures and found the whipped topping to put on top.

2 cups dried apricots
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
Pastry for 2-crust, 9-inch pie

1. In a saucepan bring apricots and water to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Add sugar and cook another 5 minutes.
3. Drain apricots, reserving 1 cup of juice. Set apricots aside.
(I had to add water to bring the juice up to 1 cup)
4. Pour 1 cup reserved apricot juice into saucepan and add cornstarch and salt; cook until mixture thickens, stir frequently
5. Arrange drained apricots in unbaked pie shell. Pour in thickened apricot juice. Dot with butter.
6. Cover with top crust. Slit top and flute edges. I would consider putting an aluminum foil edge over the pie as it did get the edge of the crust well done.
Bake at 425*F (220*C) for 30 minutes or until nicely browned.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
This was a simple recipe. I wonder how raisins, or cherries or about any dried fruit would do. Hum? next time

Hello From Kansas

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As a Native of Kansas, I always find things that make fun of Kansas funny. Not that Kansas is the best place to be, but that it is the place I like to be. If it was as attractive to everyone like California, we would be up to our butts in people from New Jersey. Do you know why we have the Phelp's and New jersey has Toxic Waste Dumps, yep we had first choice.

Yesterday I got roped into some of Barb's outdoor projects as well as hooking up the plant sink on the patio. I wanted to ensure the drain hooked into the pipe for the sump pump (out to the yard) and a new supply hose for the water. Barb's brother fixed a great plant sink and it works as well as it looks. I also had about three wheel barrels full of leaves to remove. I hate making plurals. It is hands full but I doubt it is wheels barrel full. Oh well.

Is it possible that the downturn in the economy will finally get the attention of the State and Federal Legislators that there is not an endless supply of money for taxes? Will the Tax Enough Already (Tea) parties out there across the land get their attention. In this era when ear marked funds are the bane of of all Federal Legislators, Kansas ranked 22nd. Perhaps our Republicans dipped into that trough also. Having a couple of Active Army bases and an Air Force base did propel that amount some. Especially when the "Big Red One" is expanding as all their combat brigades and their Aviation Brigade will all be based here.

One time, I was at Fort Riley on Guard Business and I got stopped by a Convoy of the Support units from Fort Riley as they were taking a trip out somewhere. On the door of the first truck was BRO 1 and each truck had a number larger by one. BRO 2, BRO 3, BRO 4 on and on. I swear that each truck had a black soldier driving it. I thought that it was cool that they could all be BRO's and put their number on the door. Finally about BRO 75 there was a white female driving a truck. That's when I slapped my fore head and said, "BIG RED ONE, Duh Dennis".

Some days are like that. Just when you stop paying attention your mind will make things up.



In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

In My Humble Opinion (IMHO) the reason the framers of our Constitution wrote the part about free speech is the very reason most of the people came to America. Half of the people out there even today see the glass as not near enough empty and the other half want it more full. The king is an idiot or the king has no clothes. The purpose of Government is to ensure our freedoms or to leave us the hell alone and protect us from Government. You get the picture, half of the people are happy and the other half are sad. OK, I think there is a bunch in the middle that don't really care but I'll leave them out of this discussion for now.

IMHO, a lot of people look at the Government as it is written and think how much more perfect it could be if we just tinkered with it a little (or a lot). These people want our Government to ensure the freedoms we have are enforced and are willing to pass more laws to ensure them. They feel that there is enough money in our system to let everyone have a drink at the trough of plenty and the rest will have enough left over to not thirst for more. They feel the size of our Government is not as important as the effectiveness.

IMHO there are a lot of people that think the government as it was written was darned good enough and it should not be tinkered with. They feel our freedoms are well defined and we have too many dammed laws to really enjoy the freedoms we have. They feel that no matter how much money the Government has, they will always want more and spend it without consideration of how hard they worked for it. The Government is way too big for these people and if we could just somehow get back to what was in the Constitution everything would be just great.

IMHO this is why we have free speech. No matter how hard we try, there will be people that feel either we are on that well intentioned road to hell or not. There will be people afraid that the Government has spent a boat load of money and we will all go down with the Titanic and others that say it is only money and we will prevail. All I ask of the reporters is to go out there and tell us what people are saying, don't try to tell us why they are thinking it. Report both sides. Look at the Tea Party signs and it should tell you that there is enough mad for both sides.

I just pray that we can continue to have a free dialog and that everyone tries to understand that it is because we can say what we feel that our form of Government works as well as it does. As soon as one side tries to silence the other side there will be conflict that will escalate into violence.


The Day After tax Day

Tiger in his scruffy winter coat

Spangles sign from November

For the first time in many years I filed early even though I had to pay. So yesterday instead of spending the evening finishing those pesky taxes, we went out to dinner with the kids and our "nother daughter" Mel. There is a Chinese, Japanese and Korean restaurant that serves a nice dinner for a nice price. The part I like is that they add little things to the dinner that cost extra elsewhere. There is always a small piece of cake, some fruit in in a lot of cases, vegetables fried in tempura batter. Mel is having some problems with fried things so she likes the sushi and cucumber salad. Me, I like the Korean bulgogi and the only thing missing was a hot and sour soup.

I guess this mess with the economy is all my fault. They say that because people like me aren't spending all their money the growth back to full roar it is all my fault. Discretionary spending is down 40% for people in our tax bracket. It just feels good to have money left over when the month is done. I can remember days when there was month left when the money was gone and I like the feel of a few extra dollars in my wallet. (and in my bank accounts) Tell the truth, Dennis, it is really Barb's fault. She is the thrifty one in the family. I would have a new car and all the latest electronic toys if it weren't for her. I really have everything I need and most of what I want. It is kind of cool that people think I drive the old pick-up because I am frugal. Not totally true, it is Barb's desire to get every dime back out of that money pit.

Barb and I are both involved in a program to bring good health, food and nutrition to people. Barb is working through the Master Gardeners and I through the Master Food Volunteers. Both would take a lot of time if we did everything available. I am hitting it fairly hard early so I can get my 40 hours of volunteer time in as soon as possible. We will be gone a couple of weeks in May on our trip so we will miss some opportunities to help out. Barb's group is large and mine is a group of three for right now. There is a pretty good sized staff but they can only do so much.
Today will be warm but overcast. I intend to do a few things outside so I'd better get with the program. We went up to the school yesterday and turned over the garden where the Butterfly Garden will go. Barb has a bunch of classes growing different flowers for the garden. They aren't impressed with the fact that a lot of the plants are no-shows. I guess little minds aren't impressed with how hard it really is to get things to grow. they want to push the start button and have green growing, and right damn now. Oh well, perhaps this fall when they come back there will be monarchs feasting on their flowers as the Monarchs make their trek back to Mexico.
I finally found out that the term TEA Party means Tax Enough Already. I'll buy that.
Gotta go. Have a great day out there.



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The temperature outside will be 70 with sunshine today. As soon as I finish here I am going outside to be the laborer for the Master Gardner. We have a garden to dig and paths for the home veg garden. I need the exercise and escape.

Have a great day out there.



2009 Farm to You

Today was my first day of Volunteerism for the Master Foods Volunteer program. We helped feed a slice of Pizza to four groups of almost 200 children prior to their tour to stations where they learned about things the Farmers do to provide that slice of Pizza.

Here is a typical class lined up out side the Expocenter Arena.
How do you wash 800 little hands prior to letting them eat Pizza? Hand sanitizer.

In the calm before the storm, the pizza boxes were all in big black thermal bags to keep them warm. CiCi's Pizza served some great Pizza.

Each child got a slice of Pizza and went over to their table to eat. We served them Lemon aid and water. This was to help the process go faster and it was fun for me to get to see so many kids and hear Thank You.

The Master of ceremonies as the groups toured each display was our old friend and Past County Extension Agent, Phil Sell. He and his grand daughter get the award for best smiles.

The TV stations sent their weather men to discuss the effects of weather on growing crops. The kids love to hear about storms

Barb's Group was the Master Gardner's. they discussed the farm grown products in the pizza.

This is another Master Gardner talking to the kids about Tomatoes and Onions.

The Pork Producers knew what the kids would love. These pigs were young and fun to watch. They would also come around the pen and chew on any shoes that were stuck through the railing. Much to the delight of the others.

This fellow talked about animal health issues and had a great draft horse skull. He showed the kids needles and all sorts of things to inject the animals with drugs to keep them healthy.

What display would be complete without a good old John Deere Tractor. The kids loved it but they all wanted to sit on it and drive. Sorry, not allowed.

What display would be complete without a cow and her calf? She was really OK with all the noise and seemed calm with a calf that didn't quite to know what to do with all the noise.

How could you talk about Pizza without discussing grains and wheat in particular. For that $3.00 loaf of fancy bread, the farmer gets only about 7 cents for the grain in it. Next time you have a fancy sandwich, remember that the cost of the flour in that sandwich was probably a penny or less.

There was a display about chickens and eggs. Yes, brown eggs can come from brown chickens.

I had lunch with the ladies from the Water Display. They were talking about the environmental impact on water that the farm community is trying to make better. I mentioned the riparian area demonstration I attended in Lawrence a couple of years ago.

All in all, the demonstration to the school age kids was a great time for all. They got to have a piece of Pizza and then talk about all the ingredients from the farm that goes into their food. I'll probably be smiling until next week for all the fun we had.


Quick and Easy Desserts

There is no claim that these are anything but fun food for groups of people. In each case there are low sugar items that could be used. I couldn't even begin to imagine the calories or grams of fat. I will guarantee that there will be all the smiles from the kids and the kids inside the adults.

Number 1 - Take it to the park Tiramisu.
Stop at the store and buy:
2 containers of frozen strawberries
1 container of frozen Dairy Topping
2 boxes of Twinkies
two packages of pudding 4 pack. (Pick a flavor you like I like vanilla and chocolate)

I have a big glass bowl that came inside one of those Pyrex carry it containers.
You don't need to take the snap on lid as there won't be leftovers if there are more than five kids.

Start with a layer of Twinkies in the bottom. Open one package of the strawberries and pour on the Twinkies. I then put one flavor of the pudding on top of the strawberries. Add another layer of Twinkies, second can of strawberries and the other flavor of pudding. Top with the frozen dairy topping and serve. I would make this right before it is served. There is no advantage to letting the flavors to merge or blend. Everything in this tastes good to kids. I have known adults come back for seconds. If you think about Twinkies and strawberries the taste is clear.

The second dessert I saw on Paula Deen's show this past week. She bought two packages of Ice Cream sandwiches. She put a layer in a 9X12 glass pan.She put on it a jar of hot fudge topping and a bottle of caramel. She topped this layer with bananas that were sliced. Here is where you could get fancy and make the bananas into a butter, cinnamon sauce after frying them.A bananas Foster comes to mind. She just put the bananas in sliced. Add another layer of sandwiches and top with a whipped topping, a layer of chopped cherries and then a layer of chopped candy toffee.

She put it back in the freezer but I can imagine that it would eat well when young.

Good eating...



What Does the Easter Bunny Bring to Your House?

The Easter Bunny bring a wide variety of things to our house. There are two hanging baskets of flowers, a lot of clothes, a communal basket of treats and at least one thing that is there because it is cute. (notice the ducky) Barb loves to give people things on Easter and I think our kids don't mind even thought their elementary school days are long over. I will soon be out on the grill doing my magic on some chicken and pork loin medallions. I think I heard Barb on the phone making arrangements. After working for 12 hours yesterday Dave won't be ready to start things early. (I just heard 1:30 or 1330 for those military types)

Barb and I are discussing out trip to Spain and Morocco plans and more discussing than deciding is the stage we are in. I am a free wheeling person that would go and let it happen. Barb is the "I want a schedule and reservations" type. We are going for fun but will be glad to see our friends in Morocco.

Things here in the Heartland are variable weather wise. Yesterday it was high 60 with a lot of sunshine and today will work hard to break 50 with clouds and some rain. I'm sure there will be a lot of Easter Egg hunts later on today that will be moved inside. Barb is getting very excited about her garden for the year. I have worked the beds over and she bought some mulch for the paths between the plants. I bought two truckloads of dairy pen compost last year and it has been mellowing in a trench I made just for that purpose. We are adding it slowly to the garden soil and will continue to add compost and rotted manure until it reaches a point where the soil test says don't add any more. I don't expect that to be for a couple of years.

Oh well, better go get with the program. I'm sure that with guests coming there is a bathroom and a floor or two to clean. Remember labor is who gets things done. Management just says where.



Denny Does Dr. fagan's Meatloaf w/Pork

One of my cooking buddies made a meatloaf for our Pot Luck Lunch that was darned good. It had a Cinnamon Apple meatloaf sauce on it. I mentioned it in one of my blogs and Flea mentioned that it sounded like it needed to be made with ground pork and an apple. So, here is what I did.

2Lbs ground pork
1 Cup bread Crumbs
1 Granny Smith apple shredded with a grater (No seeds or skins)
1 egg, beaten
3 Teaspoons of Chipolte hot sauce by Tabasco (This is a new flavor that I love)
1 Cup red pepper
1 tablespoon of Italian Seasonings
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper (or red pepper flakes for those of you that live adventurous)

Top with Paula Dean's Apple Cinnamon Meatloaf Sauce
Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.

I mixed all the ingredients in a big bowl and got in there with my hands and mixed until it was a homo, hemo, oh heck, all mixed well. I formed the loaf into a big pan and put the topping on it. Just for the record, I couldn't find the Paula Dean's Apple Cinnamon sauce so I made some of my own with some cinnamon candy hearts melted into a tablespoon of water and added to a small can of tomato sauce. I added some red pepper flakes and some extra cinnamon. Truthfully it smelled like cinnamon rolls while cooking but tasted a lot like Paula's sauce. You could add onions and celery to the meat mixture for texture and taste but it wasn't needed. You could not taste the apples as a separate component. All I tasted was good.

I let it rest while I was taking pictures and then served it with some Brocolli, carrots from one of those steam in bags and enjoyed. I did my typical thing in that I ate too much after spending so much time smelling it. I think that ground pork just calls out for apples and the cinnamon taste complemented the apples. If I was serving this for a group, I would make mashed potatoes and a gravy.

It is a Matter of Taste

Over the last year or so, the MG has moved our diet to lower fat and higher fiber. I have some butter in the icebox but we don't use it for everyday. At first, I missed the soft texture of her biscuits supreme and butter. I have now a vision of a slightly drier biscuit and less slippery butter. Barb has also started using a whole wheat flour as half of the flour in things like pancakes. You might think she is trying to keep me alive longer. Perhaps it is just to keep her alive longer. In her family, old women are common. In my family, old men aren't. Oh well...

This morning our daughter-in-law came over for breakfast with her nephews, Austen and Kyler. They are two bright funny kids that are just what I want in a grandchild. I would rather have a smile and good eaters than about anything else. Kyler didn't eat his eggs but he ate enough bacon so we won't find any dead undernourished kids on the place. I guess their Grandparents are taking them to Washington, D.C. next week and they were excited. They mentioned they are going to Ike's home in Virginia because he started the program that is bringing the older child to Washington. They will also get to hit most of the other attractions. If you have never gone to Washington, D.C.? I promise you that you could spend a week there and not see half of the sights. One of the first things I would recommend is to find a tour bus just to show you where all the attractions are. The park out in the suburbs and take the Metro into D.C.

I told you about the Pot Luck Lunch yesterday, Let me share with you one of the best salads I have ever eaten; This is from Jane Robshaw

Lebanese Layered Salad (From a cooking Light Magazine)

This tangy salad can be served chilled or at room temperature. Make at least a day ahead and do not cook the bulgur as it will absorb the lemon juice and soften before serving:
1 Cup uncooked Medium bulgur
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
3 cloves of garlic, minced (not heads of garlic, cloves)
2 cups finely chopped red onion
5 cups chopped tomato (without the seeds and juice)
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh dill
2 cups seeded peeled chopped cucumber
1 cup red pepper (You can use the green ones as they are cheaper but not as pretty)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place the bulger in the bottom of a large serving bowl. Combine the lemon juice, oil and 1 teaspoon salt and garlic is a small bowl. Stir with a whisk, Drizzle the mixture over the bulgur Do not Mix.
On top of the bulgur, layer onion, tomato, parsley, mint, dill, cucumber and bell pepper evenly. Again, do not mix. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 48 hours before serving. Jane put a couple of cut up pepper pieces on top of the salad as a design and it was as pretty to look at as it was good to eat.

Makes 8 servings of one cup. You take a spoon and go straight down into the salad and into the bulgur never toss this salad, just dig in and enjoy. I did. I went back for seconds and I loved the many tastes and texture.