4-23-22 to 4-30-10

RIP, Virginia Dene Lee Petty Schawo
Eldorado High Class of 40 & Baby Boom from 1948

Mom in Eldorado

Mom by Skelly Oil Tanks

Grandma Hazen, Erma lee, Mom and Baby Nona Jean

Mom the Mechanic 1924

She will always be in my heart.


Good News/Bad news

The good news is there is no doubt in my mind that the pacemaker mom got years ago kept her around long after her old heart would have stopped. I am thankful for the additional years and the quality of life it gave her. I went with Mom to visit her cardiologist's office about 5 years ago. They hooked her up to some machine and tested the pacemaker. They lowered the heart rate to see at what level the heart's normal rhythm would kick in. The got down into the range of 14 and her heart hadn't done any over riding. The Nurse Practitioner said that he was afraid that they might need a crash cart and stopped the test.

The bad news is that now that she is failing fast, that same modern marvel is keeping her alive beyond any semblance of quality of life. In her Health Directive she has stated that she doesn't want any heroic measures taken to keep her alive. There just isn't any on/off switch for that pacemaker. Oh well, in good time it will all happen for the best.

If you were to be here in the heartland, you would get to see first hand what the wild winds of Kansas have kicked up. There is a steady 20 MPH wind blowing with intermittent gusts of up to 35 MPH. Any pollen kicked out by the trees is being stirred up and blown towards Nebraska. At least we have not had any of the snow Idaho and Nevada have. By late today they are predicting the cooler air to get here. We'll see If Barb and I need to rush out and save plants. At least the garage is a better place than on the deck.

Better run, write if you get work.



Longer Days

In most years, I find that as the days get longer, my DOGAS (Degree of give a shit) improves. Along with that, my strength seems to improve as I do more outside. This year the higher than usual pollen count has me feeling worn out and I just don't have that get up and go to get up and drive. I'm sure that some of that is the unusual sadness this year over the loss and impending loss of loved ones. Clinically it might even be describes as depression. The difference is that I feel it will be soon over and depression often lasts long.

The really strange thing to me is my lack of creative spark. I just don't seem to have that wit and wisdom I normally have. Yes, I know that some of you think it is a kind of smart ass, but my perception therefore my reality is that it is that it is one of those qualities that makes me unique. I do hope that my perception is closer to reality than to be a part of that crowd out there that has been ranting and raving about everything until nothing seems noteworthy.

Yesterday morning I was sitting here in the computer chair and a deer strolled by eating the new leaves on the trees. This morning a turkey came to visit. The birds seem to be scattered, nesting and moving to new areas after a long winter depending on the feeder for feed. Right now, there is a dove searching the ground for leftovers.

Gotta run and get a few things done.



Short Note

I am still waiting on news about Mom. She is failing fast and we are all in a hold mode.

This morning I have an appointment with a Heating and Cooling guy to look at the furnace in my little rental house. Seems like it needs a new furnace. We'll see.

Gotta Run. Write if you have news or get a job.



Dr Mark Tiger Edmonds

This handsom young man grew up to be a Professor and writer. He wrote " The Ghost of Scooter trash Past". I am looking for an e-mail address so I can send him a copy of this picture.


Cool Nights and Warm Days

In my perfect world, this is what I wish for. In my real world I have to go out and fetch the paper in the morning and I would like it to be a little warmer. I don't know about the gardens, but the grass here is growing like the stuff it really is, weeds!

Last night, the majority of the family members that were in Oklahoma this weekend with Mom also got together for dinner in Lawrence. It was nice to share the updates and hear the love and laughter. It was kind of a problem for my son and his wife. Her family was all here over the weekend for the memorial for her step-sister. They solved it the best they could by splitting up and one going with each family. I guess that's a part of growing up when you have to try to decide which group to go with when all things else would declare it a tie. I for one would have loved to been in two places at one time and been with both groups.

Yesterday Barb got out one of the picture containers from the storage room and we looked through it for pictures of my mother. My Niece, Becky, in Oklahoma will make a memorial CD that we will get a chance to share at the service. It was really kind of fun to waste a couple of hours tripping through the life of my family. The particular container I was looking through is a combination of both sides of the family the Petty's and the lee's. A lot of what is in there are the things we all sent to our grandparents when notable things happened. Lots of children's pictures and graduation announcements.

Oh well, better get this rodeo on the road.



Edgar Alan Blinn

Easter Sunday, April 2, 1972

Women in Wartime

There are many women I have met in the military that I think highly of. Beth layden, SGM Jana Harrison and Chris Belin were always a tribute to their job and our uniform. I am sending this out in response to Old retired Petty Officer's discussion on women in the Navy. http://oldretiredpettyofficer.blogspot.com/

This was written in the late 90's and is 10 years old. In my study of the Military, I found an interesting parallel between women in Wartime and Combat Jobs and Blacks in the same roles. From the Civil War to the 1950’s, Blacks were considered inferior for combat duty unless white Officers led them. For the most part Active Military units relegated Blacks to Combat Support Roles until the integration of the Military after Korea. The exceptions were National Guard units and volunteer experiments tried by the few progressive Military Leaders that were willing to take a chance. There were a few Black Brigades in the Civil War and there is a Military History Poster about the World War I, “Hell Fighters From Harlem”. From WWII, there was the “Tuskegee Airmen” and the 555th Combat Regiment an all black Airborne Regiment experiment. Until full integration was reached in the 50’s and until the young Black officers and Non Commissioned Officers moved up into leadership positions during the Vietnam era there were few black Generals and Sergeant Majors. From the 1960’s on, the Military led the way to full integration of minorities in all facets of the Male dominated services.

I feel that I should move on to the role and rights of women in Combat Positions. Early in the history of the Military, women were relegated to positions such as clerks, drivers and Nurses. The Field was an all male bastion and women were not allowed during combat on Ships, in Air Crews or in units where women could be exposed to direct combat with the enemy. As one should never say never or always, there might have been a few exception but for the most part women did not move into anything nearing an equal position with men until the modern era.

In the 1980’s, the Military tried to develop a study that would scientifically define women’s and their roles in the Military. The study framed the discussion called a Direct Combat Probability Code (DCPC). The DCPC looked at the jobs and the opportunity and probability of meeting with the enemy in combat. The study, for the most part confirmed the Male leadership’s feelings that women should not be allowed in Combat roles. There were a few exceptions in the study that allowed some women in Combat MOS’s but limited women serving in those roles for positions located in higher headquarters.

In the Army of my youth (1966–80) I served with few women because of my assignment to Field Artillery units at battery and Battalion level. The “good old boys” took care of each other and women were talked about but not seen. In our field units men could strip off their clothes and bathe in a helmet without the worry that there were women nearby. In 1980, I was assigned to the National Guard State Headquarters in Topeka, Kansas. There, women made up a significant part of the membership of the unit and my earlier preconceptions of the Military had to change dramatically. The first change was potty halts in Military Convoys. We had to plan on using the rest areas for the vehicles with women. The men just urinated between the rear dual wheels on the trucks.

It is interesting that about the time of my transformation, the Military was undergoing the same change. Women were showing up more and more in our units authorization (Table of Organization and Equipment ,TO&E). With the move towards an all-volunteer force our recruiters were working hard to recruit all sexes into the Military.
One of the biggest shocks was having women in positions that caused them to be in the Field with the men. This created the need for female facilities and separate tents for different sexes. It definitely changed the level of swearing and raised the decorum in most units. There was one girl called "Motor Pool Mary" that could out swear the guys but that's not the point here.

In conventional wars, the front lines are somewhat well defined and the enemy weapons systems were fairly predictable. You can somewhat limit the location of women and therefore limit the number of females that die. Society has for the longest time been willing to send their young men to die but not the women. Men do the fighting; women raise children and stay home. That changed in society and that change was reflected in the military. The equal rights to live free and have equal pay has been tested by the equal right to die in combat.

In unconventional wars, the front lines blur and the fighters are harder to tell from the non-combatants. A primary description of the difference can be found in the ambush of a Maintenance unit that led to the Jessica Lynch story, “I am a Soldier Too”. The two Kansas National Guardsmen killed in Iraq were Field Artillerymen and because there was no need for Artillery, they were assigned duties more like Military Policemen or Infantrymen. They were killed protecting a convoy from attack. The unconventional roadside explosives don’t differentiate between women and men.

Today there is still somewhat a protective part of the Military that shields women from the role of warrior but that distinction is becoming less as society’s attitudes soften. I do not think there will ever be a free assignment of women in combat until our attitudes continue their transformation and women are seen as equals in all facets of life. We are on that road now and it is only a matter of time until there will be only Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines not men and women in those services.

'Cides I look silly as hell in one of those Berets.


Love and Hate

Today's paper has an article about Fred Phelps son coming to Topeka to talk about his father. He says he grows tired of the word hate because it doesn't really describe his father. He describes Fred with the word intense about his feelings and many see it as hate. I listened to Fred on the radio one day and I would say that misguided as I think he is, he thinks it is his mission as a christian to tell other people what it is that God wants them to do to allow them to go to heaven. He said that his failure to do so would jeopardise his own salvation. I do not subscribe to the message I just portrayed above. I think it is just another way to show emotion and that is naked hatred in its worse form.

However, I also feel that no matter how hurtful the message is, he is within his right to say what he feels. He is already a disbarred lawyer so it is clear that he has both the training in telling lies and has been caught in one. Many people want to know what the people here in Topeka are going to do against the Westborough Baptist Church. In short, they will sue the socks off anyone that tries to stop their message. They have made many dollars doing just that so the leaders here in Topeka know better than to poke that bear with a stick. You are welcome to do so if you desire, just be aware that that activity is precisely what Fred does.

For me, I will just ignore the signs and protesters. I would not provide fuel or moisture to Fred even if he was burning on the other side of the street.



Got 'er Done

I managed to work my way through the list and finished the day on time.

I was really pleased to meet Kyler and Austen's dad. I told him that those two boys are a tribute to fatherhood. In all the times I have been with them they have never said a negative word about Wyatt and his wife. In fact, it was very touching that both boys went to their Step-mother for a hug when they needed one during the inurnment service.

Our 'nother daughter Melissa is here from Austin and staying in our spare bedroom. I really do enjoy talking to her as she has some pretty adult attitudes without being over driven. It is kind of nice to see the fresh attitude of youth mixed with the complex problems of the day. In spite of the problems of the day she seems to be searching for solutions rather than ranting about the problems.

Gotta run. (or walk fast)



Busy Day

Pardon me if I spend a few moments listing out the things I have to do today:
Take out the trash - Done
Clean the buds off the sidewalks - Done
Drain the water off the driveway - Done
Write on my blog and check the e-mail - Done
Clean up the downstairs
Kill the dust bunnies in the bathroom
Check out the food for the dinner and make a plan
Get some tea for Barb at the Merc - Delayed for later
Pick up Mel at the Airport - Dave & Barb will do
Attend the inurnment
Fix dinner
Serve Dinner
Clean up
Put feet up and sleep.

Write if you have a chance or news about Momma.



I think We Have a Deal

I think we have a buyer for the Valley Brook house. I am going to do my best to sort out the extra shovels, brooms, rakes and tools I have and make sure that the new owner will have most of the tools he will need to take care of it. Between all the people moving in and out of my rentals and a couple of estates, I have a plethora of things a new homeowner will need. 'Cides, we know the young man and think a lot of him.

This weekend is full of things to do and places to go. We are a little busy and sad here at Rabbit Run. The Step-Sister to my Daughter-in-Law will have an inurnment and a memorial service and we are on pins and needles about my mother. I know that life, births and deaths are all a part of living but dang I hate it when people die. Yes, we would be up to our armpits in people if no one did, but dang it doesn't seem easy.

In today's paper there is a small magazine and they have a main article about a man that has abandoned modern life to live in the woods. If he doesn't grow or hunt it, he doesn't use it. I wonder where he got the money to buy the 1000 acres of woods he lives on. The debt load for that alone must have made him work hard somewhere. It might be a good thing in his book but I would rather live in a little faster lane and be able to enjoy the life I have. I could go out in the freezer and get some shrimp, pre-cooked chicken wings (Hot style) and have a bowl of ice cream for dessert. For Barbara I would microwave some great vegies and make a small pot of tea. He can live off the grid if he wants to, but how could I watch my 42 in HD TV if I did?
I lived in a house as a kid with a small furnace in the living room and I damn sure would rather have my central heat and air.

Oh well, miles to go so I'd better get going.



What Do You think?

If almost half of the people out there pay no taxes, do you think they care what the tax rate is?
If a good share of the people out there don't vote, do you think they care who the candidate is?
If a lot of the young people out there have turned off reading the paper or watching the news, do you think they care what's reported?
If the unemployment keeps getting extended, do you think it will cause people to stop looking for work?
If Toyota gets fined 16 million dollars will they report things earlier next time?
I quit smoking when cigarettes got to about 75 cents a pack. At what cost will everyone stop?
I wonder how much a gallon gas will go to before I start riding my bicycle every where?
I have a brother in law that said his COBRA for medical insurance would cost him almost $1,000 a month if he retired early. Will the new medical insurance change the rate?
If all you read is how bad a day everyone is having on face Book, will your day get better?
How soon will we be reduced to 15 words about how we feel and not exchange any information?
How soon will film cameras go away entirely?
When will land line telephones go away?
What do you think?
If the Government can step in and make my GM stock valueless, what chance do you think I'll buy more stock in anything?
At what point will the national debt exceed the amount anyone can pay off?


Just Waitin' for News

In Vietnam, 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset set we were on full alert and waiting in case something happened. That's how I feel waiting for news about Mom. It is always on my mind and just below the surface kind of like an itch that I need to scratch.

I was reminded by my good friend, Ken, that sometimes the stop of the waiting is kind of a good thing. Even the bad news is in a way kind of good news. He lost a son-in-law to a battle with cancer and that ripped their hearts for several months near the end.

With my mother, I know it is the natural series of events that some day we all will probably bury our parents. I have several friends and relatives that have buried one of their children. I can't imagine that grief and that hurt. With Mom's life, there is a history of the things we all accomplished with her. We will always have the memories of her and the fun we all had with the family.

Not that many years ago, Barb and I had a full set of grandparents to celebrate with. We are nearing the time when her parents will be what we have left. That transition has been a slow and gradual thing and our hearts have not been asked to absorb more than we can stand.

I am not afraid of death, I just don't want to rush in there. I know that some day all the blessings I have will end, and most of all, I want everyone to know that I have lives a full rich life and I would rather have you put a smile on your face every time you think of me. I know that Mom and I have had that same discussion and she feels the same way.

Better get rolling, miles to go and places to clean.



Update Number two

I am sure that this is the kind of memory Mom will want us all to have of her. Not a sad tear laden memory, but the vibrant woman that she is in our hearts. I gave her a kiss from all of you as I left there about noon today. The Hospice aide was there and going to give her a bath. She said she didn't want one but I'll bet she will feel better if she does.

I just don't know how to read when her life will end. I know that no matter what happens to her physical body, she will be somewhere reading the morning paper and eating those caramel sticky buns with Wilbur and Ruth Schawo. Carol assured me that dad will be there because of his good heart. Mom said that she will lead the prayers and the dish washer will take care of the plates.
I told her that Amy said that the Old Rugged Cross was one of Mom's favorites and mom agreed. In fact almost all the old church songs are on her list except amazing grace played on the bagpipes. Right after that, Mom looked at me ans asked "Who's in the kitchen with Dinah?" I sang as much of that song as I could remember and danged if that's not the question, Who the heck is in the kitchen with Dinah? I told Mom it must be Burt Reynolds and she smiled. Dinah Shore was one of her favorites and that rascal Burt sure liked that lady.
I told Amy in a comment that Mom will always be with us when we need her. I will think of her every time I eat a piece of pie, hear laughter and singing. I told her that in the sweet bye and bye, she will hear, "Kid, get me a Beer while you are up" from her mother. She smiled again at that thought. Excuse me while I go somewhere and cry for a while.


Mom's Status

It is pretty clear to me that mom's not doing well and everything is slowing down. She doesn't really eat anything and is drinking pretty limited fluids. She was very weak and it was hard to understand her. She asked for a pain pill and about 6 PM crashed asleep. They have her on oxygen and she is getting 3 liters what ever the heck that means. Her oxygen level was down to 82 and her blood pressure was back up to 92 over 72 from 72 over 42 earlier today.

Rick has contacted Hospice and they are coming in to assist mom. In fact the nurse came in today when we were there and did a full eval. Mom could last until tomorrow or for another week. I don't have a way to guage this all I have is Rick's judgement that she doesn't have long.

Let me one of the first to tell you that Mom has lived a full life and has a family that she loves and is proud of. The last thing Mom wants is for her death to be heavy burden on you. She would tell you to focus on the good things we have had and the good times we have shared. If you really try hard, there is enough Petty memories to get you past the first cry. Mom and I have discussed her passing on many occasions. The only real hard thing she has asked for is the large fork to clutch on her chest. She said that all the times at the church meals the ladies would say save your fork, good things are coming. I will give you more details as they develop. It looks like there will be services in Oklahoma done by Lloyd Allen and a grave side service in Topeka.


Welcome Home!

The other day I met a guy wearing a Vietnam Veteran hat. I told him that seeing all these old guys wearing Vietnam Veteran hats confuses me. I went to war with a bunch of kids and all I see wearing the hats are old farts. He laughed and said we need a parade.

I told him that when our local Air National Guard returned from the liberation of Kuwait, they had a parade and the Topeka Vietnam vets were asked to come and march in the parade for the one we didn't have. I did and felt like it was the welcome home we didn't get. It somehow satisfied my desire to be recognized in a positive manner and I no longer need to have a parade.

I guess I really didn't need as much as want to participate in a parade. I felt that I had gone to Vietnam when my country asked and did my job. I only killed people that shot at me and did my best to protect the men assigned to the unit I worked for. I was never assigned to any unit that had women so I didn't protect them but I would have had the occasion arised. The further I get from the dates I was there, the more the memories fade.

In Leavenworth, I was a probation officer for about 6 months. Several of my probationers were old guys from WWII and Korea. They would always use the excuse that war made them drink. No, you drink and need to stop trying to put the past away by hiding in a bottle. One old boy was a Marine and he was always using Guadal Canal as his excuse. I'm sure that he died with alcohol on his breath and the rants about the war on his lips. God what a waste of humanity. I really hope that he wasn't driving and take some good citizens with him.

I hope that you don't need a parade today to forget or to celebrate something in your life that wasn't the most pleasant thing you have ever done. Find something simple and enjoy it. I'm not sure what that will be for me but at least today I will do it sober.




I want you to know that as much as I dislike the current President of the United States I really would never want anything to happen to him or any elected leader of our country. I am not sure what is the driving force that causes men and women to run for offices, but I darned sure want people to continue to seek higher offices. Do you have any idea what it would be like if we couldn't get out smartest to run? Just how silly would you look if everything you said was broad casted and written down. I'm sure that the Media would have loved to report that I said "Shit" this morning when I shook the V-8 bottle with a loose lid. "Dennis sets a bad example for children at breakfast table." Could any of us really stand that kind of scrutiny?

I revel in the fact that the United States has had about 225 years of peaceful turnover of leadership (OK, There was that one time in the 1860's that things got out of hand) We will recover from the current leadership and soon people will be saying stupid things about how bad the other party has messed things up. When boatloads of Americans start invading Haiti for a better life, I will start to worry.

On facebook, I am starting to run my life lessons 101. Yesterday was simply that things we thought "cool" aren't 40 years later. I especially think the new T-Shirt fad of having them tucked in and stretching across a pot belly is silly. I think they should be stretched if they say "Baby on Board" and there really is one. Today I think everyone should try to be happy with what they have and not get what they want. The best way to get out of debt is to not get in the first place.

Should be a great day here in the heartland. Have a great day out there.



Never trust an Old Nose!

Thursday, I installed a new Hot Water heater in Dave's house. Yesterday, Dave complained about a very slight gas smell. I blamed it on the new burning off the water heater and two cats. Last night Dave called about 10 PM and said he really smelled the gas smell when he returned from work. I asked barb to find a spray bottle and put in some water and liquid soap. I sprayed down all the gas fittings and sure enough bubbles appeared on the lower fitting. So the moral of this story is to never trust any nose over 40. Get a spray bottle and spray or have the gas company test it it it is a major line. Another life lesson for my book.

Yesterday, I escaped Topeka with Barb and we made a run over to KC through Lawrence. We went to one of our favorite burger joints and it is no longer in business. My niece, Carrie, took us to "Backyard Burger" when we were on a trip to Kansas City. We found one in south Lawrence and it became our favorite. They managed to commercially duplicate the taste of grilling into a great selection that included cobbler and many side fixin's. With that establishment no more, we drove down the street to a new business called "5 Guys". It is a no frills burger joint with the kind of hamburger us older guys love to eat. They have a list of things to put on the burgers that has 9 or 10 things at no added cost, including Jalapenos. They put your order in a sack and spill as many fries into the sack as they put in a cup. Honestly, Barb and I couldn't finish all the fries. Most people take the sack to their table and tear it open and eat from the pile. They even had small containers of peanuts to munch on. It wasn't real cheap, but I think it will attract a lot of repeat customers with the high quality and great portions. I might have been able to finish the fries but Barb saved me from myself after I ate what would have been a large order at most places.

We replaced our counter chairs at Nebraska Furniture Mart and they are a pretty good replacement. I would have gotten the chairs without the arms had I to do it all over again. The really great thing was that I got to buy Barb her Mother's Day present early. I'll let her tell you about it by showing what she can do with it. I expect it will be a great present for her and she will get a lot of use out of it.

Lots to do today and miles to go. Write if you get work. My thought for the day is one I stole from another Face Book friend: Dear God, this past year, you took my favorite actor Patric Swazy, and my favorite Actress Farah Faucett. Please be nice to my favorite President Barack Obama. Your friend Dennis...

I read this morning that 10% of all accident fatalities in Kansas are motorcycle riders and their passengers. Please try to look and be careful.. Most of them are just old farts like me enjoying their thoughts of youth. Put down that damned cell phone....



Takin' a Day Off

Let me start here with the comment I expect Barb to say, "And who made you work so hard yesterday?" Yep, 'twas me and I self imposed that time line. The problem is that with retirement comes the responsibility for my actions. It was at one time easy to say that I had so much to do at work that I had only a few days to get projects done. Now, I have only myself to blame and no one else.

The Daughter-in-law loves long hot showers and the 30 gallon tank was not up to the task. I think it was set fairly low and it precluded much over a 15 minute shower. Yes, all you military types wonder how she could spend that long doing what takes us about three minutes but she always smells good and that's more than I can say about us. My wife says it also has something to do with longer hair and our buzz cuts are just done in a minute.

Tomorrow is some kind of a green day at the Library and Barb is going over to show the kids how to grow a tomato plant. She also has a mini-garden planted in a bag of potting soil that rolls around in a wagon. Going to rain hard, frost? roll that sucker right in next to MUD's computer. Cute idea.

Last night I ran into an old friend from work. I mentioned that I am on facebook and had traveled to KC to attend COL Trafton's funeral. He said he was one of the Patriot Guard that stood by the flags and then escorted him to the Military Cemetery in Leavenworth. I thanked him for the fine job they all did. I said it was kind of an interesting funeral in that the military flag was folded inside the church by a couple Military types and then handed to the Patriot Guard member to hold until after the ceremony and then reapplied on the casket before it was moved. Last night , Barb handed me the little hand out from the funeral and asked what the line I added was. Here is the quote. My added line is in red following the original:

Life is not a journey to the grave
with intentions of arriving safely
in one pretty and well preserved piece.
The intention should be
to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up, worn out.
And defiantly shouting
"Wow what a ride!"
And be there before the Devil Knows!
Another old fart on a bike got hurt yesterday. A driver on her damned cell phone pulled right out in front of him and he is in critical condition and will probably lose a leg if he lives. Damn, I was thinking about motorizing my life and getting out into the wind and traveling. Not so much now.
Be safe out there and remember that when you see one light coming down the road it is probably just another old fart like me reliving his younger days. Try to let him finish that dream. PAY ATTENTION!


"Change" and Just What the Hell Does that Mean?

Without any modification to the Constitution at all, women wouldn't have a vote and Blacks would only count as a partial person on the census. I challenge you with the fact that without the ability to change at all, we would have long ago slipped into a Civil War. No Wait, we did that and only after losing about a half a million citizens were we able to put the pieces back together. So just what the heck do I want in the way of change?

First of all, for me, it would be a change if the congress of the United States actually passed something and then actually tried to make it all fit within the revenue they have. I am not saying that in extraordinary times they don't need the ability to float a loan, but they should have some intent to pay for what they pass. I would make them all listen to that talk radio guy and put them on beans and rice until they at least turn the boat around and realize that they will get all the change they can handle if they don't. I would start with them being subject to any bill they pass.

Just so you will know, there are a lot of "unfunded" bills passed all the time. Congress then appropriates the money to make the bills work, or in some cases pass the requirements on to the States as unfunded mandates. I would make the provisions of PAYGO be enforced and that just passing bills isn't enough. Kind of like my parents didn't just get jobs, they also had to decide how the money got spent and that was the real challenge. Any child can spend an allowance, it takes real maturity to make money and then spend it within the budget. I think there needs to be enough flexibility in the way the Constitution is interpreted to allow some wiggle room. That doesn't mean I want the Congress to do the Hoochie Coochie and limbo under any tent they can stick their nose under. We elected those people because we thought they were adults and responsible people. Now the challenge is they have to act like it.

Once upon a time, after Harvey and I had consumed a portion of alcoholic beverages, we think we hit on something. We both tried to describe a time the United States really worked. Our solution was that we needed to have some frontier to direct our activities and efforts to. For some reason in spite of the warnings by President Eisenhower, we applied that logic to making the world safe by sending our Armies in to clean up all the messes. We think the Space Program was the almost perfect vehicle. Perhaps that same emphasis on education would produce good results. Whatever the Congress does, it needs to have the input from both sides and be funded with the money they get not the debt they can establish. Wait, is that the Change I think will really do it?

Happy Tax Day boys and girls. Even with a bunch of additional taxes paid, I have enough to eat and continue to live. I hope you have the same. Either Congress will change or it will get changed.




People out there in the media world need to be reminded that Acronyms they write need to be explained the first time they use them. This morning in the sports page a miss Le Trang of the Washburn Tennis team was the MIAA POW. My mind wondered how a cute young thing like that could be Missing in Action and a Prisoner of War. It turns out that she is the Player of the Week in the MIAA conference. Dang, I hate it when that happens.


Danged if I Do, and Danged if I Don't

The good news is that the Oak pollen count is down. From 125,000PPM to 71,000 PPM. Just so you know, with two great big oak trees in the yard, that probably doesn't apply here. We also have lots of hickory and cedar trees out here all in full bloom on the pollen count. It is all pretty after a bare brown winter, but a lot goes a long ways to making allergies pile up and make me miserable. You could write your name in the pollen deposited on the hood of the Ford.

Now to the really bad news, I am so sensitive to Decongestants that even one of those little red pills will elevate my blood pressure. So I go from not hearing anything from the congestion to ringing in my ears from the blood pressure. This morning I gave in and am currently on the red pill to make sure that it doesn't turn into an infection. Huh, would somebody answer that damned phone....

One of the real dilemmas right now is that I want to get out and clean up the yards and get them ready for spring. All that does is make me feel worse so I will fight off the quest for clean and neat and stay inside. (As much as possible)

Write if you get work...



For the Love of America

Let me say that I want you to get up off your ass and re-find what it is about America you love. Get over that "Oh poor America" crap and look around with your eyes wide open. Don't let Rush, Shean or anyone tell you that we are going to hell in a hand basket.... The rest of the world is in the same boat and there is time and room to fix what ails us.
First of all, we need to stop spending incredible amounts of money on things that don't produce real wealth in America. Barb would tell you that there is room for a lot more money to be spent on Education to achieve our goals. There is more to learn every day and it is rapidly getting more complex. There is a lot of talk about reading, writing and Arithmetic but I promise you we are way beyond that. For us old farts, ask a 13 year old to help you understand what the hell an app is on our new I-phone and just marvel at how much they know and how little we know. Our schools are the future.
If you don't just love where you are, get up and move. There are so many places that are beautiful here in America and there is no end of things to see and places to go. I was struck by the beauty of the rolling hills between Buffalo and Burlington on highway 75, here in Kansas. A couple of weeks ago it was brown and now the new green cover just made the trip back from Bartlesville a joy to the eye. You should see the parks here in Topeka after 800 church people spent their day picking up the branches and stuff.
The other day, I saw the Patriot Guard standing by the flags in front of a Catholic Church for a Military Funeral. If you couldn't be proud of that, you need to go home and stay home.
The only thing negative I have to say today is that another motorcycle rider was killed over the weekend because a sloppy motorist made a stupid mistake. Wake up people, those guys are probably more like you than you would ever know. They aren't a gang, or a group of people that want to fight, they want to ride their bikes in a way that lets everyone get home at the end of the day.
I am proud to say that I Love America and will continue to be amazed daily at the joy of living here.


Monday Mornings

Mondays are just another day when you are an old retired fart. You don't have to rest up by going back to work and the sunshine looks pretty much like it did yesterday. I will say that things here have popped out green and I think the pollen count is well on to 5,000 PPM which is about 4,800 more than enough to set off most allergic reactions. This morning the wind is almost still and while it is still moist outside, the pollen is down near the ground. Like they say about the weather in Kansas, If you don't like it wait a few minutes.

We had the kids over for grilling yesterday and I need to figure out a way to better control the temperature with the Webber. I used too much charcoal and hickory and things got to hot too early. I need to have it cooler longer so by the time the chicken is done it is not as dry. It is always nice to see Dave and Barb Jr. I think Dave has decided that he really does need to go back to school. He didn't get a promotion at Best Buy and I think the light came on that all they want is another part time guy not someone that is full time and has responsibility. (and no degree)

Oh well, better go find something to stay involved.



Life Lessons

MUD & Harvey at a Walmart Store in Bentonville, AR

In today's Sunday paper Magazine, a father with a bone tumor selected five friends to help be a father to his twin girls if he dies from the bone cancer he had in his leg. That's an interesting story, but I think in his situation, I would have gone a little closer to home and picked family.

Lets start with the sister that I have known the longest. Myrna Sue taught me to read at an early age. I think that my being able to read is one of the main reasons I survived in school. Had my third grade teacher tried to help me read more instead of putting me out in the hall, we both could have had a better go at that year I turned 8. Sue worked hard her entire life and finally when she met Ray, found a soul mate for her life.

My sister Carol Lee, caught the same music bug I did at Minneha and loves music. I attribute that to Mrs Holloway, but Carol went on to teach the love to a whole generation (or two) of kids. I hope that she continues to share with others that love. Me, I just sing as loud as I can.

My brother Rick, went half way through life and one day stopped and turned his life around. From a worker in an Aircraft plant, he stopped and invested his retirement fund into a whole new career. In fact he went back to college and then KU Med school to become an Occupational Therapist. I am not sure that I envy his travel schedule but I'm pretty sure that it beats working in a factory wondering when the next lay off will happen.

My mother was like the earth mother. You knew that no matter how bad your day was or is, you could go over there and get a hug. Oh sure, you could get a swat if you weren't good but then it would be over and she would love, laugh, sing and move on.

What marriage would be complete with out two people. Barb has always been a down to earth solid planner that worked hard and valued education. After being married to me for a while it must have been a normal reaction for her to get a Masters Degree in Special Education. If she could keep me on track, her kids would be a breeze. For 42 years we have been together and right now is a pretty god time in out life. We finally have a coincidence of the money and time to travel. Her finding a Ford Crown Victoria and helping me think it was all my idea worked. We can cruise down the road and arrive in comfort. It is also a tribute that most all of her long term plans worked and we got to a grand place in life.

For the time being, I will leave my father out of this. I think the lessons I learned from him I'm still working on.

What do we learn from our children. I think watching the sheer joy of life through their eyes is one of the greatest thrills. Being a pretty typical father, I feel that taking them to the edge of the nest and being thrilled about how they fly away is important. Mothers tend to want to worry more about them but in the long run there is a lot of merit in both approaches.

Of the friends I had as a younger man, several of them aren't here any more. Ron and Harvey are still on my must call list and I enjoy visiting with them as much as I can. Wayne, John, Whitney and Dennis L are all gone now. Illness and injury has played a rough part of the lives of my friends. Whitney survived a couple of tours in Vietnam as an infantryman and died in a traffic accident in California. Someday I hope Ron will be able to open up and talk about his time in Vietnam. I once saw his ribbon rack and he was pretty highly decorated but wouldn't talk about it back in the days right after his return.

I guess we all have our community and we depend on them for different reasons. This wasn't a deep analysis, just a theme that came to mind after reading an article.



My mother is almost 88 years old and like a lot of old people has a lot of things that refuse to work well. Mostly her heart is enlarged and one valve isn't doing its job well either. This limits her doing a great job of getting strong enough to take care of the day to day functions. This past week she had a bout of fluid building up around her heart and wound up in the hospital. Until they were able to remove the fluid from her system, she went down hill fast. In fact, my niece was told by mother that she had never been more sick in her life. She either was or will be discharged from the hospital today to return to the nursing home. I guess that's really like life in general. We live, have good spells, bad spells and in the end, we all die.

Mother wants to be buried clutching a big fork on her chest. She said that at many dinners in the Baptist Churches the servers would say, keep your fork, good things are coming for dessert. Mom has always had a strong belief in the after life and plans to be there to have pie with Glen, Wilbur and Mary Schawo. I'm not sure if Glen will be there but Wilbur and his first wife will.

I wish there was some way I could share with the family Mom's real joy in life and help them not miss her so bad when she is no longer with us. She won't want her passing to be a time of sorrow but a celebration of the great family we have become. For the most part we have all become successful and have avoided jail or prison time. Other than a cousin that works in the Arizona Super-Max. Mom always said one or two of us would wind up in prison some day. Jim just works there so so far she was half right.

The red buds are just blooming here. In Bartlesville they were pretty spectacular. I notice that our orchard is really blooming well and baring a bad frost we should have a bumper crop of apples and Asian pears this fall. Not sure how the cherries will do we bought some more trees to help pollinate the one tree but the new trees are very small this year and don't have many blooms.

Better run and see what the pancakes taste like.



Funerals 'n Such

When I woke up this morning, I was undecided if I was going to Kansas City for the Funeral of Col Jim Trafton. I am very glad that I decided to go and share that experience. Typical Military group in that everyone was way early. They had a nice slide show that showed Jim in all facets of his life. He was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a motorcycle rider and a soldier. All these things were shared with us and the pageantry of the funeral was so well done.

When we entered the church, his family was in a receiving line and greeted us all. The coffin was left closed but was flag draped at the front of the church. Just before the service was started, the honor guard folded that flag up and gave it to the leader of the motorcycle honor guard. The casket was covered with a cloth from the church. I could not see what was on the cloth but I assume it was the catholic church symbol.

The service was very well done and the soloist was spectacular. There was a eulogy by our friend Cliff Silsby and I think he nailed Jim to a "T". I think that it is always good when there is sad moments and laughter when a loved friend is talked about. At the conclusion of the formal ceremony by the priest, the church cloth was folded up and the coffin was again flag draped. They were taking it to the Government cemetery in Leavenworth. The new cemetery south near Lansing is beautiful. I did not go to the interment.

This kind of makes me think about what it is I want for my service. First of all, it will be in the hands of Barb and we have discussed it many times. In the past, I have said that I want to be cremated after a wake. I want to attend the wake and sit there with a pipe in one hand and a glass of scotch in the other. Other than I don't want to be naked, I don't really care what I am wearing. My old clothes with paint on them is probably what I want people to remember the most. I want the wake to be held in the Armory and for there to be a case of booze and a couple kegs of beer. I would have Grover's bring in BBQ but it will be served on paper plates. There would be a contest to see who can tell the funniest story with bonus points if you can work my name in. and quad bonus points if it is true. I would like to have it done in the evening and casual attire would be the uniform of the day. The only song I want played would be amazing grace by the Black Watch and the Army song with the real words used.

After that, Barb can find an appropriate place to sprinkle my ashes.

For some reason I am not sad now. I think a great funeral with good friends present and a good BBQ sandwich at Arthur Bryant's just hit the spot.



Turkey's 'n Such

This morning as I went out to fetch the paper the turkeys down in the holler were making their morning noise. It sounded like two groups of hens sounding off to let the others know where they were. It was more the gobble, gobble, gobble sound. There was little wind this morning after several days of high winds. These cool still mornings brought all the bird sounds to me.

The Capitol Journal Online (CJonline.com) covered COL Jim Trafton's life in an excellent manner. He managed to do more in his 58 years than most guys would do in a lifetime. As the holder of two Combat Infantryman's badges, he is a rarity for the Guard. If you knew Jim you would know that he would just smile. But with that said, don't mess with his, family, his motorcycle or his flag.

In my perfect world, everyone would wear seat belts, helmets when on a motorcycle and no kids would get on 4 wheelers. All I ask is for you to be careful out there, I don't need any more sadness this week.



Tuesday Morning

Did many of you see that Butler could have beaten Duke with the last minute three point shot? How a team can go over 10 minutes in a game and stay with Duke is beyond me. Duke needs to get a game and stick with it. With a couple of three point shooters, Butler could beat anyone.

We had Austen and Kyler over for supper last evening and man did the kids have fun. They made Smores with Peeps, rice crispy treats that looked like sushi and had an Easter egg hunt. For some odd reason I just ran out of energy and found a nap. Or, did it find me. Either way, we found each other.

I have high hopes that on Friday we will go to Bartlesville to see Mom. I think my two nieces are going to meet us half way and we'll get a chance to catch up on their lives.

Better get rolling.



A Great Loss

Yesterday evening, a great man and a leader in the Kansas Army national Guard was killed by a driver on the Kansas Turnpike. The report is that the driver of the car was distracted by his dogs and slid in front of Trafton who was driving a motorcycle. I can't speak to the fault or the motorcycle issue.

What I can speak to is how sad I feel to have watched Colonel Jim Trafton grow thoughout his career. I knew him as an enlisted man and instructed Leadership Classes as he attended Officer Candidate School. He worked in the State Defense Building for the Chief of Staff about the same time I worked for the Chief. He always was one of the hardest workers and great leaders I have ever known. Jim served our country in Vietnam and in Iraq. His long career is a tribute to all the men and women that have served our country.

He leaves a wife and four daughters to morn his loss. I can only say, "I Cried."

COL (Ret)

Livin' In Topeka

I have lived in Kansas most of my life. There was a period in the 60's that I was away in the Army but the other 58 years have been spent right here in Kansas. For about half of those years, I was in a different city other than near the Capitol. I truthfully can say that I wasn't even remotely aware of the goings on under the dome. I was aware that Kansas has a long history of Republican control in the House and Senate and a few Democrats have held the governor's seat. What I didn't see from out of the city was the real work they do and how they do it.

When there are good times, lots of jobs, planes being built, wheat being harvested and oil money flowing in, the job is how best to spend the great piles of money. Heck, a couple of years ago, the schools got together and filed suit to make the Legislature spend more on them. As Stan used to say to Ollie, "Another fine kettle of fish you have managed to get us into." We now like most states have unfunded mandates coming down from the Feds and have our own unfunded needs here at home. Paying a shit pot full of money with half a pot full will be more work than fun.

Now isn't one of the times for the faint hearted to run for office. There are tough times to be had for the next couple of years and the Government is on "Beans and Rice." Mom tells the story about how during the depression they ate a lot of beans and 'taters. One night they were having dinner on the back porch and they heard the next door neighbor shout, "Beans and 'taters, 'Taters and beans. Seems like all we ever have is beans and 'taters." I happen to love beans and this morning I made potato pancakes out of the left over garlic mashed potatoes left over from lunch yesterday. Problem is, how do I manage to share all my beans with the people that really need to eat? Yes, I manage to put ham in my beans and had enough ham to have a slice or two with my breakfast. OK, I'll admit it that I am not poor for now.

My real fear is that the congress is so split that they think their petty political problems are more important than what we are facing. Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear from the leadership to say that they are going to stop passing new stuff until they figure out how to pay for what we need not what the lobbies want. There was an article about Lynn Jenkins and a visitor to her office asked for Federal Government support for a sewer system in their home town. What the hell, don't those people pay attention. Washington has enough shit to pay for with out a system to remove it locally.

I guess you can tell I am a little shell shocked as I prepare to write a check for my taxes. I guess I thought I could get away with paying less taxes once I hit retirement. Ain't so McGee.



OH well!

I tried to write a post that included random thoughts and all I had was random. I hate it when that happens.


Butler and Duke

If there is a bracket out there that has Butler and Duke, they will certainly win the office pools. I did have Duke coming out of their side of the bracket but Butler? Yes, KU and K-State were on the bracket I picked. Heck, I was 100% wrong yesterday.

Rick called this morning and said that Mom's congestive heart Failure was the cause of the fluid build up. I guess the heart and lungs work together and when one isn't working well, the other just doesn't work well either. The dose her real good with Lasix and after several good trips to the bathroom she will breathe a lot easier. She is resting at the Hospital right now but will probably be back to the nursing home soon.

Oh, Happy Easter. The big Bunny failed to put out the baskets this morning and we'll just have to wait until the kids come over later to get our chocolate fix. Da barb's went shopping yesterday and bought stuff for Austen, Kyler and their brothers and sisters. ( I'm not sure how many or what sex they are. I've put meeting them on my list but it hasn't happened yet)

Better run.




Started today by making a run to the Hazardous Waste disposal site. It is clear across the county and I took almost a pickup load of crap I didn't even want to know what it was. I have cleaned two houses up this year and collected cleaning supplies from both. There was also a bunch of oil containers with used motor oil from about everything I own. There are still about 20 partially empty paint cans of every color and kind. I'll do that probably next month.

Today was a work in the yard day and I mulched the garden and then tilled the mulch in. That took about an hour longer to do because I had to take the snow blade and the tire chains off before putting on the tiller. Getting one of the bolts out of the tiller when I got done turned into a hour long project because the bolt was too long. It went in OK but getting it our was a major pain. To top all that off, I just flat wore out near the end of that project and I am beat. There was once a time i could work all day and now four hours is about the limit. Oh well, the good news is that I don't have many jobs that take more than four hours.

I have it timed down so I can get cleaned up about the time the final four games start. I think that Michigan State and Duke will win today and then because Rick hates Duke, I will pick Michigan State on Monday.



Roy Who?

Did y'a notice that North Carolina didn't win the NIT? Must be a real hurtful thing for him to see his tar heels to not maket it to the top of the also rans. I think that is like the cream of the crap.



Yesterday I bailed my bike out of the shop and paid right about $100.00 to get it ready for the new season. Today there is rain and high winds here so no bike rides today. I had a hitch in the pedal that felt funny and the guy replaced the ball bearings with a "cartridge" and man is that ever smooth. He also adjusted the gears and brakes. I did get to take it on a test ride and it is easy to forget how well Ken engineered that bike. I can't wait to take it out on the trail and ride with the winds.

Does anyone else get hassled by their Cell Phone Company? I have had an AT&T land line phone for most of my adult life and they call about the damn cell phone bill when it gets just a few days past their imaginary due date. I will pay the damn bill on the 1st and the 15th. If they send it on the 11th, the snail mail doesn't always get it here by the 15th. They will get it when they get it. I don't pay my bills by electronic means and they can just wait. Barb is kind of pissed at them anyway so they had better quit calling her. It is a damned I-Phone and right now the only carrier I can get is AT&T. Can't wait until someone else carries the service.

The news media talked this Morning about all the new jobs last month. What they failed to mention is the number it takes just to employ the newest people to join the job force is a larger number. Real world - People are saving money and paying off debt as fast as they can. This means that fewer dollars are being spent so there are fewer jobs. If people were to run out there and spend, the number of jobs might increase a little but then the amount of debt would expand and that's what started this whole mess. Besides, in spite of all the problems they have, people are buying Toyotas like they were home baked bread. Do we really care what happens to Japan and China's jobs? Kind of like watching the BBC channel, lots of stuff, hard to understand and when it is all over who cares?

The convicted Killer of Dr Tiller was sentenced to a hard 50 yesterday. He was allowed to have his last say and said the world is a safer place with Dr Tiller no longer performing abortions. I hope that idiot takes a lot of time for the next 50 years to think about murder making the world a safer place. It does make me wish we were a little more like Texas and have an express lane for people that do really stupid things and kill people. I personally wish that no one had abortions but as long as it is legal, someone has to perform the procedure. To kill a man in the foyer of his church on Sunday morning just rushed him to the front of the line for me. My mad dog law would have kicked in and the police should have just shot him rather than bring him in for the trial and incarceration

This evening Barb and I will go on the Art Walk here in Topeka. One of my cousin's daughters has a showing and I am excited to see her work. Her Uncle is also an artist and I love his work. More tomorrow on that.

Oh well, better get on with things. I think we did get a little caught up after a short night the night before.



Early Birds See Early Birds

Another item to cross my Bucket List. This morning we had to be in Manhattan, Kansas at 6 AM to go out on the Konza Prairie to view the Prairie Chickens as they display. As the sun first came up, the males arrived and began to strut around, inflate their booming sacks and stomp their feet. Up and down a road in along the edge of a pasture anywhere from 4 to 5 males lined up about 20 yards apart and displayed to attract a female. We watched as each male seemed to warm up and spend 5 to 10 minutes doing the display. Finally about 7:30 a lone female showed up and checked them out. During that time the nearest male went into overdrive and displayed non-stop until the female finally left.

Barb read about the Prairie Chicken viewing in the latest Kansas magazine we paid about $30.00 to be taken out and put into the shelter there by a prairie chicken "LEK". I'm pretty sure that you can read about it on the KONZA prairie site. The person that took us out had a great NIKON viewer and you could count the feathers on the birds if you wanted. The wind was out of the right direction and the song and booms were loud enough to hear. It was also good that the birds couldn't hear us.

By about 8:25 it was all over and we are now back home. Can you spell nap?