Some Discussion

Yesterday Barbara and I had a discussion about some of the things I wrote.  Concerning the point I made about how much I value a good education and hard work, she asked me how about those people that have a degree and can't find a good job?  Fair question.  How could I restore the feeling that the end of the rainbow is out there when in some cases it isn't?  Just because I found a career path that was good for me, is that same thing out there for all? 

I have to admit that I am shaped by my own experience and I have been a little  "One Size Fits All" in its application.  I was blessed to be one of those tall people that found success a lot.  Was my success amplified by my height or just congruent to the amount of hard work I put in every job I had?  In my lifetime I was fired from only one job and my moving from job to job was almost always the result of a desire I had to change.  Perhaps I was good at reading the tea leaves and realistic and left some jobs when I knew the end was near.  The best example of that was the Army.  In 1969, I was a 1st Lieutenant and could have made Captain on Active Duty but I did not have a degree and pretty well knew that there would be a reduction in force when the lower needs for officers because of the slow down in Vietnam kicked in.  I decided that going back to school was possible and the quickest way towards finding a career that would last the rest of my life. 

Barbara and I discuss education - a lot.  One of the biggest concerns I have is the lack of change in processes they use.  Where is the feedback loop that tells the educators what the hell they should be teaching in the first place?  I read that if you go to College to get a Computer Science Degree today, in the four years you are in school, 50% of what you will learn will be obsolete because of the changing technology.  I feel that was probably the way it was for a Business Degree except that I'm not sure that they taught me one thing I used in my career after I graduated.  I learned a lot, but not that much that really made me successful.  I guess I just kept applying that dumb thing called "Hard Work" in all my jobs and kept that up until they told me to go home.  

One of the things I also struggle with today is all the testing they are doing.  Why do they stop teaching and test.  I think an evaluation procedure needs to be incorporated in every step of the process and keep moving forward with the learning.  I guess I was blessed by being able to learn a lot on my own and felt that test taking was so easy for me that it was stupid.  In my perfect world, students would be given a lesson, have it evaluated and back briefed.  I would reteach the shortcomings and move on to the next topic.  I would conduct a review weekly and adjust what was needed to be retaught and reviewed.  I think the testing required today gets in the way of learning not compliments it.  

The other day, one of the news services gave us the statistic that a very large percentage of 8th graders could not read at grade level.  If there was one thing that helped me more than anything else in life it was the ability to read.  I  personally think that what you learn up to about the fifth grade is unimportant compared to the ability to read.  If you can read, the ability to learn is a door open for the rest of your life.  If there was one available, I had my face in a book a lot as a child.  I hated school except for the fact that it gave me a lot of good books to read.  I can't tell you how many times I would read the textbook for history or science once at the beginning of the year and never look at it again.  I could pass with a lot of D's and didn't worry about it until much later.  

One of the other skills I would focus on was problem solving and planning.    I would introduce the models to kids and have them use those models in all areas not just science.  I would focus on the how to's and let them find ways to use it. 

Oh well, enough of the day shot.  I am now moving on.  I'm not sure but at least it will be not here.



What Do I Stand For

I am going to take this topic and explore some of the things I am in favor of or support strongly.  Right now at the start I don't have a final list completed, this will be in the order of them crossing my mind and falling out on paper.  Perhaps someday I will priotorize them but for now, these are just an unedited list:
  • I am an agent of change.  I think that change is going to happen and it is best when there are some ground rules or thought applied in the process.  I would much rather see change happen and studied than to have it applied and a new topic selected . This means that I approve of Sunset rules for Laws.  
  • I do not believe in a formal religion.  Having studied several different religions in Religion 101 at WSU, I think that it is fair to say that I support the Freedom of Religion part of our constitution.  I won't tell you where or when to pray and I appreciate your treating me the same.  Given the choice, I would rather live in a society where the common rules found in the bible are applied than one with no rules.
  •  I grew up in a neighborhood where the differences between the rich and the poor was very evident.  I try to live my life now where I don't make that a big deal.  
  • I think that everyone should feel the importance of having a chance in our society.  I grew up poor and damn sure didn't want to stay that way.  I value the chance I had to get a great education, to work hard and prosper and to be able to share it with my family.  I would hate to have anyone think that it as in me to just give up and accept whatever came my way.
  • I love the motto. "Lead Follow or get the hell out of the Way."  I hope that your life means something and your impact on it is as important to you as it is to me. 
  • I love that our young people feel strongly enough to support our country and to join the Military.  With that said, it is a good way to get killed so I caution you that this is no easy or slight task.  War is the failure of Governments to live with each other and a horrible expenditure of lives and money.
  • Where has the spirit of debate gone?  I think either you are supportive of your party or you are not.  I try to point out what I am unhappy about and not just rail over the failures of earlier people.  
  • I hate debt.  It has been a necessity to borrow money over the period of my lifetime but I paid off my debts as quickly as possible.  I know that my wife Barbara agrees with this as she has guided me to save rather than buy a bunch of toys.  
  • I think our Government should find ways to help those people less fortunate that I am.  With that said, I think people should work hard to find ways to help themselves.   
  • I buy insurance for my house, my car and for my health care.  When I got to where I could do so, I let my Life Insurance lapse.  I do have a provision in my retirement that Barb will be taken care of if I die but not for the hundred thousands we had earlier in life. 
  • I but Lottery Tickets as a form of entertainment.  I do think about what I would do if I won, but I do not need to win to have lived a great life or the ability to live a great life in the future.  


Just a Couple of Miles of Smiles

Yesterday Barb and I both got our morning work done and we just decided to go put a few miles on the trail.  It was a wonderful day and while a little warm, the breeze made it feel just right.  Somewhere about 8 miles just feels so right on the bikes.  It is great to get up the next day and not feel like we did anything that was too hard. I think our 20 miles on the KATY was a little far but no real harm done.  Today is clean the garage day so I am not sure Barb can be detracted by a bike ride.

We went to "On the Border last night with Dave and his wife, Barbara.  Barbara and I split a Fajita plate and I'm sure that we both got all we wanted to eat.  In fact we didn't finish the rice and beans and you know I love them beans.  The plate we ordered included some shrimp and pulled pork.  I had never had pulled pork as a fajita but it was darned good that way.  I guess I should really ask if there is a bad way to eat pulled pork.  Put a pork loin in the slow cooker and tear in for some wonderful eating.  I do salt and pepper it when I cook it but, I wait until it is done to add any sauce.  

I wonder if my writing turns to food in the early morning because I haven't had breakfast yet?  I do enjoy cooking and eating.  I try to meet Barbara's standards that every meal has some green vegetable and go light on the grease.  She has been doing weight watchers for a while and makes weight every month.  She looks good and seems to be very healthy.  When we don't ride, she tries to get in several thousand steps each day.  What ever floats her boat.

The picture above is my niece Jennifer.  This year I hope she gets promoted to Captain in the Kansas City Fire Department.  She is one of my favorite people and she's as smart as she is good looking. She has been a rower a lot longer than I have been a bike rider.  
Have a great day out there.



Once Upon a Time

Yes, I know most stories that start out this way are made up or fairy tales.  The good part is this is a true story.

When I was in the ninth grade or so, I had a good friend Sheila that I had kind of a crush on.  It was long before I had even held hands with a girl let alone kiss one.  Because of eating some of her mother's chicken at a church social, I really wanted to manage to get an invitation to a Sunday dinner.  Her mother was a cook that knew her way around a stove and could make some chicken that beat the Colonel's stuff all over the place.

I am not sure how I managed to make it happen, but one Sunday I managed to get an invite and her mother made some of that wonderful chicken.  I am sure that there were all the normal things with the chicken, but nothing could supplant that chicken for being the lead item at the lunch.  I'm sure that I made a fool of myself and after lunch we all went in to the living room to have a pleasant chat after lunch.

I'm not sure how or why, but her mother kinda got serious and looked at us and said, "You two are way too young to be getting serious"  Sheila looked at her mother and said, "Mother, I am older right now than you were when you had me."  I didn't know what to say or to do.

I am pretty sure that fairly soon after that announcement I managed to find a way to beat a hasty retreat.  Here they were talking about marriage and children and all I wanted was a chicken dinner.   It was not that long after that I met a sweet girl and Sheila met Dwayne who she later married. 

The moral of this story is to be careful what you ask for, chicken dinners can lead to talk way beyond what you expect.


Three Questions

Today when I was bored nearly to death, I turned on ABC and saw Rachel Ray ask three questions to the star of Buffy the Vampire slayer.  Here is my version:

Three Questions
1.  What does your spouse do that annoys you?
2.  If you had a clone, what would you want them to do?
3.  If you could not do your life's work, what would you think you would have wanted to do?

1.  My wife often forgets to agree with me.  Even if (Seldom) I am right.  One of the reasons I was attracted to Barb was that when we met I was on orders to go to Vietnam.  Her strong personality made me confident that she could take care of herself.  I can't remember a time when she was not able to do everything she wanted to do.  Well, there was this one time when she moved to Topeka and I was at Summer Camp and the AC in the new house didn't work. I am pretty sure that a five year old and a new house didn't make things any easier.  She called a repairman and it all worked out.  It was the hottest summer on record, for the record. 
2.  I would love to have a clone clean out the garage and do some of the scud work.  I have a lot of tools and not enough desire to get everything done.
3.  I turned down flight school in the Army.  Probably would have gotten myself killed flying a stupid helicopter but hey, it sounds like fun now.  I am sure that I would not have met Barb had I gone to flight school and it would have led to a career path entirely different one that was successful.There are times that I want to wish my life full of travel and then about 10 days away from home I miss the things at home. 



Lack of Blogging Motivation

I guess when it is too warm to be outside or too cold to be outside, I can find the motivation to write more.  In the spring and fall, I just seem to find more things to do that are more fulfilling than writing on this blog.   One thing we did this last week that burned a whole in as couple of days was go to Clinton, MO and to ride the KATY trail out 10 miles and back.  We have been trying to get my Niece Jenn to ride with us as she talked about the trail ride so much we got excited.  Seems like her schedule got full and she couldn't work it in.   We are excited that she is taking the Captain's exam on Monday and we fully understand that getting ready for a promotion is a lot more important than a trail ride.  

Speaking of promotion,  I always wondered what it was that made me want to be the boss so much.  I worked for some good people and I worked for some pretty poor bosses at times.  I learned a lot in both cases.  There were some that were so bad that I saw what stupid moves could cause and how good communication could make a job better.  The one thing I found the hard way was that it is never easier to move up.  There is a break over point where helping your employees and writing evaluations takes away from the satisfaction of doing a good job on minor projects.  One thing I found out the hard way was that getting up from your desk was a whole lot easier than sitting in your office trying to find out what your people are doing.  I tried several ways to get information from the staff but most of the time it was just best to get up off the desk and go see. 

The one thing that the Military did fairly well was to highlight the steps for promotion.  There was mandatory education that came at almost every step.  Some of it was not needed but in a lot of ways it just made me think about some of the alternatives.  After I completed Command and General Staff College, I decided that because I couldn't make general with my job, I would focus on my personal education.  I tried to read a different management book about one a month.  I think I came up with a lot of good ideas and some that just didn't do anything.  I read the "One Minute Manager" to find out what COL Fox was trying to do.  He had the steps down but he kept leaving gout the kiss 'em in the the kick 'e, kiss 'em, kick 'em sequence  In fact I had to get the book on how to counter the "One Minute Manager" to get him from using it.  I saw the book in his trash one day after I shot his process full of holes.  I am sure that he thought he was doing a pretty good job of rewarding me until I pointed out that he hadn't done squat for me in three years.  

Riding on the KATY Trail

Oh well, moving on and doing things.



This may Turn Political - Warning! Warning! Warning!

Every once in a while, I just can't turn it off long enough to relax without a good rant on the blog.  Today's is along the lines of Leadership 101.  Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way:
  • It seems pretty clear to me that our congress is headed for a major turn over soon if they don't get things sorted out.  They would be well served to make a list of ways to fix what's wrong and prioritize it.  I am pretty sure they don't have a clue how to solve problems and they think that throwing money away is their job.  A party that communicates to us a list of what they will do could blow the others out of the water.
  • Businesses have a model to follow.  Make a profit, change your business processes to help make a profit or close the doors.  Our post office is headed for collapse or a major bail out.  Their cheese has moved and they can smell out a better way to find it.  Drop Saturday mail delivery first. 
  • Our Education system claims they are failing because of a lack of money.  The smartest people we have seem incapable of finding out ways to make education relevant and also find ways to not rely on the old brick and mortar establishment.  We are paying about $5,000 per student per year right now.  Put up high speed nets in our communities and connect kids in new ways.  If we are all going to make a living on computers soon, why are we using the old pencil and paper method in our schools.  Why do we have to stop educating to test the kids.  Build it into the curriculum and find out the base as we go.  Isn't there a model that tells us to teach, review and test.  reteach the things that we didn't do well in and then retest.  Every once in a while go back and review the important stuff and keep the ball rolling downhill to the goal.  Good ideas don't include the need for a Doctorate.
  • I am fortunate to be married to a darn smart woman.  She is thrifty, clean and can be tough as hell when it is needed.  She said that in her opinion, it isn't all bad for the Government to play Robin Hood and take from the rich to give to the poor.  I keep worrying that we might look like that target but she says unless I start missing meals to shut up and go along for the ride.  Right now, we pay almost a dime on the dollar in taxes as sales tax.  What is the top limit?   Is this a way for all to pay a share?
  • We have four cars that run and one or two parts and a-part cars in our yard.   The newest is seven years old and you wouldn't believe what we pay in property taxes on them.  Seems like we should have to only pay taxes on one and then get to move the tags to the car we want to drive.  Flat fee for a tag projected on a flat screen where the tag should be and no more standing in line.
  • Yesterday we went for a ride on the new part of the Shunga trail.  I am convinced that from now on, every new street needs to have a bike lane built in.  With a few dollars and a little imagination the old railroad trails can be upgraded for bike travel too.  We are going to ride the KATY train system starting in Clinton Missouri soon.  
Enough good idea, time to retire the good idea fairy for a while.


Old friends

The other day I was just perusing through my Facebook account and ran across a name from the past.  Marsha Zimmerman (Wollner) was a girl I went to school with for what seemed like forever.  You all had friends like that in Elementary school.  A really nice girl that for many reasons you knew but never dated.  Probably more because I had eyes for my childhood sweetheart who turned out to be more of a Tart than I could have imagined.

My 57 in better days

I contacted Marsha and found out that we have a lot in common, including  long marriages.  Marsha was a Special education teacher later on in her life and Barbara was one most of her adult life.  Marsha and her husband collect and love old cars like I do.  We have an unrestored 50 ford, a 53 Chevy three window round nose pick-up and a 57 Chevy Blaire.  Barb and I don't show the 57 much anymore and she doesn't go to as many car shows as I do.  I love to see the old iron driven and used.  The 53 truck is not a daily driver but it does haul our bikes to the local trails as much as we can go.  

When I think about my old friends from the old neighborhood, or Dog Patch as it was known, I am haunted by the fact that a lot of my old friends are no longer alive.  I am not talking about the older adults from generations older than I am, but Baby Boomer friends that have died over the years.  In spite of two of us going to Vietnam, we both came back alive and relatively normal (or what ever that is)  The first person we lost was Whitney Phipps.  After three tours to Vietnam as a Marine Infantryman, he was killed in a car accident in Southern California.  I am not sure who died next but Whitney's older brother John Phipps died a few years later from an illness that he should have survived if he had had someone near to take him to the hospital.  My buddy Wayne Reed died of a perforated bowel and died only because he too refused to go to the hospital in time.  The last guy on the list was Denny Lawrence who died last year of lung cancer.  After years of smoking, it finally got him.  That leaves the three Musketeers, Denny Petty, Ronny Sawyer and Harvey Blinn.  I am pretty sure it would surprise our parents to see how well the Dog Patch boys have done in life.  The bad part of that is that none of our parents them are alive to see our success.

Does this mean that I would haul it all back and change my life?  No, I am pretty sure that I have had a great time and plan on spending more time  doing the fun stuff.  I have no intention to encourage anyone to mourn my death when it happens. I have every intention to slide into my grave all beat up, worn out and broke.  Barb will have all the money and everything else.  truthfully I am not sure I even want a grave.  A simple cremation and a headstone in the Cemetery in Leavenworth is more than enough.



Falling Down

The other day, I was listening to TV and they said that after the age of 65, 2 out of 3 people will fall down at least once each year.   I am pretty sure that I am going to best that record as I fall down all the time on my bike.  The good news is that my recumbent is built with the seat near the ground and I never have far to fall.  In fact, twice this week I have taken a tumble and the worst is a small scrape on my right knee.  Yesterday I fell down and I landed on my back and rolled.  No major bruises or skin scrapes.   I do have a slight balance problem caused by my ears but I try to keep "Nose over Toes" like they told my mother for years.
Life is pretty good when your view point is the top of the pole

Yesterday the weather went from 60 to 85 way too fast.  We ate lunch and waited an hour to go riding.  I was dressed for a ride about 11 AM and by 1 PM I was way too warm.  We did about 10 miles and it felt pretty good.  

544 Byrd, Wichita, KS 1968

Oh well, if your biggest decision is what picture you want to use on your profile on Facebook, life is pretty good.




The Monarchs are en route to Mexico
Over the weekend, we had a couple periods of nice rain and while we are still behind for the year, it is a nice start.  I know Barb likes to put her plants to bed with their feet wet.  Perhaps the trees will now stop dropping their leaves early and wait for the first frost.  I was in the 50's this morning so that won't be that far away.

It is time to begin my annual rodent eradication program.  I set several mouse traps by the door and I call it my defense in depth.  The mice spend their time in the summer outside and start to look for a winter home about this time each year.  The good news is that they are suckers for peanut butter.  If it was only that easy to get rid of the squirrels I would have it made.  

Here in the heartland, we have a Food Store Chain called "HyVee."   They are based out of Iowa and provide the best meat I can find in the area.  It isn't cheap but man is it good.  They have a rib eye that you can cut with a fork.  I marinade the meat and cook it slow over a hickory smoke fire.  It doesn't get much better than that.  I generally gook enough that we have planned overs as the base for other meals.  I make what my mother called a hash with precooked steak and potatoes that is excellent.  Throw in a side of the couscous salad I made and it is a meal fit for a king. 

At what time in your life have you had problems with your teeth?  As a kid I was a lot less than diligent about brushing and have a mouth full of teeth filled with fillings.  A lot of those have been covered with a crown and I went about five years without a cavity.  The last two times I went to the Dentist I have had to have a tooth or tho filled and the dentist has his eye on a tooth for a crown.  he tells me that it is broken and probably will fall apart some day in the near future.  Oh well, I have enough to smile.

Have a great day out there.



Ponzi Scheme

Our paper this morning had a cartoon on the opinion page and it showed Social Security and the Trickle Down theory with Uncle Sam asking what a Ponzi Scheme was.  I don't remember when it happened, but a guy named Ponzi invented a swindle scheme where he promised investors a large rate of return on an investment.  He paid the early investors out of the income from the later investors (Keeping a large share for himself) until the whole thing fell apart.   I'm pretty sure the name Ponzi and the saying, "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is" were both named after him.  I am not sure what I paid into over my lifetime, but I am pretty sure that I am one of the few that will not get my money back.  Even though I have paid my 40 quarters into the system, they have greatly reduced my payments because of my Military retirement.  Oh well, So far so good on everything else. 


 Barb and I planted a bunch of wildflower seeds in our prairie yesterday and right on time Mother nature is watering them.  It is nice to watch the  grass pasture turn into a wildflower garden.  The only thing I hate is the ragweed growing there.  I guess I need to spend a little time next spring doing my best to eradicate it.  There are a couple of places that it has a good head start and we all are allergic to it. 

I enjoyed the first half of the KU football game yesterday against Georgia Tech.  The Yellow jacket coach said at halftime that he hopes his team can continue to perform and his defense needs to step up.  That's what happened and the second half was not fun to watch. 


Sleeping on the ground

For almost a year, I spent the majority of the nights sleeping where we stopped for the day. In 1968, I was in Vietnam. I spent almost all fo my time either as a Forward Observer with an infantry Company or with the gun battery forward deployed on a mountain top. That meant that comfort was something that was pretty darned important.  I can't tell you the value of a darned good air mattress.  The ones made for the Military were basically rubber tubes that you inflated by blowing them up.  Depending on how many punctures they had, they stayed inflated for a short period of time.  If you were lucky they would stay inflated for a couple of hours.  It was fairly easy to fall asleep  and stay that way unless the ground was rocky.  Most of the time the ground was soft and muddy  and you put your poncho under the mattress.  If you really couldn't sleep, you would blow it up again and go back to sleep.

I can't tell you the number of times I would swing by a supply room and trade a really bad air mattress for one that was"Good."  On one trip to the supply room I made a decision that I would demand a new bag still in the plastic bag.  (That and a fifth of good whiskey would get you one)  The first night that damned mattress just went whoosh and whole end just blew out the seam.  Back the next morning to the supply room and I got a replacement.  I took it and went back to the field.  That mattress was solid gold.  It never leaked even a puff of air.  I was in hog heaven for a short time.

I finally came up on a time for an R&R and as i was leaving, "Twiggy" asked me if he could use that great mattress while I was on leave.  I made him swear to take care of it and left thinking good things about my meeting with the wife. 
LT Petty and Barb in Vegas

While I was on R&R, the unit moved from just outside Kontum to way the hell out to the west on the top of a mountain.  It seems that we also got a new Battery Commander that for obvious reasons everyone called Fat Albert.  This guy was big and fat all over.  I arrived back and went over to the FDC to get my air mattress back.  Twiggy was almost in tears when he saw me. He asked me to come outside (To keep the blood off the chart tables if I did rip off his head.   He stopped hy the small sand bag hooch he slept in and brought out the mattress.  It was flat and right in the middle was a size 12 boot print.

Twiggy said that he was taking the air mattress outside to give it some sum after a rain and a mortar round fell somewhere on the fire base.  Fat Albert was about 25 feet from the FDC bunker door just as Twiggy was coming out.  Fat Albert knocked Twiggy down and stepped right in the middle of him and my mattress. The mattress exploded and Albert fell down thinking that another mortar round had hit there by the door.

I think the story softened the blow of losing a good mattress.  As it turned out, I spent the rest of my time in Vietnam in a location I could sleep on a cot so the flat mattress was not as big a deal.  I never did hear what happened to the unit after I left.  When I left Vietnam, the supply had lost my footlocker so the only thing I had was a small suitcase I brought back from hawaii and the uniform I was wearing.  I had to borrow some kacki's to go home in.



Middle of the Week

Mother Nature is playing games with the heartland.  Normally there is a rain associated with the passage of a cool front.  Seems like we are getting cooler each week and we are still 4 inches behind for the year.  The corn crops are almost not worth the effort to harvest and I am not sure what the soybeans are doing.  The beans look good as you drive by but is there any pods as they near harvest?  

My father's first cousin in Dr Mark "Tiger" Edmonds and he sent me a release about his new book. "The Lonesome Lowdown Long-gone Outbound Scootertrash Blues".   Go to drmarktigeredmonds@yahoo.com to find the information about purchasing a copy.  I have read several of his books and I loved them.  Tiger is an author that recounts his adventures on a motorcycle in some of the most beautiful language you you would ever want to read.  On his web site, listen to his recordings and you will be transported to places far away.  His images are from the roads less traveled and sights most of us haven't seen.  For the record, he doesn't ride a Harley and get into fights. 

We finally have hung out a suet block and it is the start of the bird feeding season.  We get to watch the birds as they jockey for a space on the suet block or at the seed feeder.  Last winter I bought a bag of mixed seeds for the ground feeders so they can have something when the snow was on the ground.  I put it in the sunflower seed feeder and the birds have managed to spill almost all of the white Milo out on the ground.  Oh well, can't have everything.

Better run and go get something done even if I don't know what it is.




What is better than Red Beans and rice on Sunday?  Left over Red Beans and rice on Monday.   I guess I am my Daddy's son as he too loved a pot of beans.  Mom's version was navy Beans and ham and I prefer either Pinto beans or Red Beans.  I need to get some shredded cheese and some jalapenos to spice up the corn bread.  Now if I could just figure out how to power my recumbent on methane gas, I'll bet I could really power myself around the lake. 

Friday morning last week, I hauled out the trash and forgot that because of Labor Day the trash service would come on Saturday.  Late Friday night a wind storm blew through and scattered trash all over the place.  Barb took pity on my and she went out and picked up the trash and carried in the cans. 

This morning Barb fixed me some home made bread with some pear butter on it.  Mighty tasty.  The Asian Pears didn't do well this year due to the dry and heat but the yellow pears have done fine.  With a lack of apples or Asian pears, she has been playing with the regular pears.  The house sure smelled great yesterday with the crock pot full of pears and cinnamon.  

Better run and get ready for a bike ride.




I cut down two trees in two days and on the third day trimmed up the evergreens in the front yard.  I must have worked the muscles hard enough that they let me aggravate my sciatic nerve.  Now that I have spent a couple days in a prone position, I am slightly better.  The real problem is when I spend to much time on my feet or sit here at the computer and pontificate.  

About noon I am going to take Barb and the bikes over to the ball diamonds at the lake and see if I can even sit upright enough to ride a ways there.  I will stay on the parking lot where the slope is only a couple of degrees and probably Barb will ride out on the bike path. We'll see what we see.
As you can see, there is no shortage of trees at Rabbit Run

Barb and I discussed a route to the east coast this morning.  I think I would like to go up through Flint Michigan to see where my Dad's family came from.  I doubt that there are any relatives there that I know.  The last I knew was Aunt Mary who went to Florida the last I heard.  

Better run and rest up from resting up.



65 Degrees out there

Now this is what I'm talking about.  Unless you are at the lake and swimming, the weather outside right now is what I expect for Labor day.  We missed the rain they predicted but at least the hot air is on the way somewhere else.  

Yesterday we had the bikes in the truck and were just walking out the door when the phone rang.  It was the kids and they were headed over to the farmer's market.  Did we want to go?  Sure, why not.  The also were going to pick up Austen and Kyler so that always makes it more fun.  Even more fun was the fact that Rikku and her daddy walked with us as we explored the booths.  I think we bought a watermelon, a bag of coffee  and some squash.  By the time we finished our trek around the place, it was just too warm to ride.  I unloaded the bikes and we spent the day inside. 

Geek Squad Guy, Dave

Early in the day yesterday, I put a pork loin in the crock pot.  I am on the verge of changing my favorite meal from pot roast to pork loin in the pulled pork version.  Cook it long and slow in the crock pot and then pull the meat apart with a serving fork.  I put just enough of the cooking liquid in to keep it moist and tender.  I also added just a little BBQ sauce and some additional marinade that has a Soy Sauce taste.  Put that on buns and it is great.  The kids love cinnamon rolls and Barb whipped up a batch that  had a kind of caramel on top.  The kids left me one but Barb ate it while I fooled around.  Oh well.  "You Snooze, you lose."  

Football player sidelined with a busted wing
Sometimes you want to choke them or hug them your choice
The cartoon pages had several themes this morning but the most consistent is that kids start school in the fall.  Here in the heartland they have been in school a couple of weeks.  All we needed when I was a kid was from Labor Day to Memorial Day.  I guess there is so much more to learn today.  Pretty much when we left school, we got to play, not go home and check our Facebook and E-mail.  Throw in an early afternoon western with Deputy Dusty Rhoads and we were set.  I'm not sure that I would know how to set up any more electronic devices to my TV.  Heck, when I watch a movie on Blue Ray it changes the settings and I have to stop and think my way back to the Satellite dish.  Instead of the time on the VHS blinking 12, 12, 12... I have a DVR that contains nothing.  I am so seldom gone when something important is on that I have not found much to record.  I am not sure how to watch things I record so I don't really worry.  I also know there is a setting that will allow me to pause live TV but I am afraid I might cause a warp in the time space continuum.   (Like I could cause that, I just told you I don't record anything) 

Last week I mentioned Barb's cashew-blueberry waffles and here's the proof

See Y'a on Monday.




It is strange that the Saturday to the Labor Day Weekend feels a lot like any other day when you are retired.  I can remember being so excited to have a three day weekend followed by an 11 day week.  Yes, I drilled in the guard for over 20 years and the first weekend after Labor day was drill so we would have a three day weekend followed by an 11 day week.  By the next weekend, we would be so worn out that Saturday would be a Mental Health day and most of it would be just a day to charge the batteries.  I would try to keep projects that required little thought for that day.  Mowing comes to mind as one of the major projects.  Turn the mower on, plug in the radio and make crop circles in the yard.  If I was lucky it was the last time all year that I would need to mow. 

Thinking about mowing brings to mind some of the best things I have spent money on over the years. 
  • When we bought the rental houses in 1990, the owner had a mower that he used.  I made him an offer and he sold it to me.  It was a Case riding mower  and I ride it even today.  I have had to modify it some and replace the motor but it has dollar for dollar been one of the best things I ever bought.  During that time, I have worn out at least 10 push mowers and more weed whackers than I can even remember.
  • Dollar per mile the Volvo Wagon was a pretty good buy.  Dad drove it well over 150,000 miles and I replaced the drive train and drove it almost that much more.  I found a Volvo that had never been delivered to the dealer and was torn up in a train wreck and put the entire running gear in the Wagon.  It went lots of miles well and was fun to drive.
  • My wife said that her father repaired TV's from almost the beginning of TV.  His brand of choice was a Zenith.  When i came home from Vietnam we bought a black and white Zenith in Colorado Springs in 1969. That damned TV lasted and lasted and lasted and finally I bought a color Zenith in Ottawa. I gave that old black and white TV to the NCO club in Ottawa and when I went back to command that unit in 1987, it was still working.  To the best of my knowledge, it never had been worked on and the picture was just fine for an old black and white TV.  
  • As a kid, I can remember only one new bike. Like most of you, I inherited most of my bikes from older kids.  Most of the time it was one of those humongous fat tired girls bikes that I had to stand up and pedal cause my butt didn't reach the seat.  As man times as I slipped off the pedals, it was probably good that it was a girls bike of I'm sure that I would have busted my family jewels. My only new bike was a Race Bike from sears and I for the life of me don't remember what brand.  It lasted about two years and it was stolen by one of the neighborhood hoods.  I found it about a week later painted with house paint and ridden while the paint was still tacky.  It had sand stuck in the paint on the lower frame and I managed to get it back with the threat of calling the police.  That bike probably cost my father about a weeks wages and it didn't last two years.  The reason I say that, is my brother-in-law found Barb an EZ-1 at a garage sale and it has been the best little bike, dollar per mile.    He made my bike and it has been one of the best dollar per smile.  I hope to ride it many more over the next years.
  • For most of my life I was a General Motors fan.  55, 56 and 57 Chevy's, a 69 Malibu, a 71 Vega, a 78 Malibu, a 94 Buick, a 97 Olds and a 53 Chevy Pickup.  Barb was looking for a newer car for me and ran across a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria with 18,000 miles.  We went to look at it and other than a kind of dirty driver's seat the car was in great shape.  It wasn't until we took our first road trip that I realized the value of the car.  In addition to just driving like a dream, it gets 25 MPG on the road.  You can arrive places feeling you you have been home sitting on the couch or your recliner.  It is a little bigger than Barb likes to drive but it is one that her back and mine can stand miles after miles.  Yes, I imagine my carbon footprint is pretty large, but comfort miles per dollar are pretty high. 
Bikes on the round nose with round belly
Y'all have a good time out there and be safe.



Better Days

The weatherman said that yesterday was hopefully the last day over 100 for the year.  There is a cool front going to pass here tonight and it will be in the mid 80's for the rest of the Labor day weekend.  This morning it was about 80 with a good 10 MPH breeze from the south.  Great riding weather.  Barb and I ride the same route and she stops to take pictures.  I ride another couple of miles and today got in 10.5 miles in about 50 minutes.  I'm sure that the camera and the telephoto lens Barb carries is at least the equivalent of another couple of miles. 

Whenever Barb gets out the waffle iron, she always makes a few extra waffles.  Throw those extra in the freezer and use the toaster to heat them up for a quick breakfast.  Barb likes to put a few blueberries in a cup with a little water and we top the waffles with them.  Throw in a few cashews and a little syrup and it is "good eats."  For the longest time I thought I didn't like waffles.  I could get to love them.

I see that the southern states are due to get a bunch of rain.  My pal Andy in Louisiana said he mowed his yard short and put his mower in storage for the year.  Sounds like he may have to get a shovel and scrape the mud off the lawn soon.  

There are a few things that make me wonder.  How come you have the right to tell people to not display a cross?  I thought we had freedom of religion not freedom from religion.  To me, that means that you can mind your own business and as long as I don't hit you with a cross it is not your right to even notice.  How come we have the right to bear arms and yet people think I have to register my guns?  That is especially true if I want to carry concealed.  Bite me.  That smile on my face might be just the strain of carrying my gun in my pants.  

Oh well, Better run.




Just yesterday I sat under a giant walnut tree by Clinton lake and thought what a wonderful place.  You couldn't hear any man made sounds, only the sounds of the cicadas and a family of noisy crows just over the hill.  The weather was perfect and I realized just how lucky I am.

I am saving this design for when I'm too old to ride the trails
A lot of that great feeling is because of the idea my brother-in-law, Ken planted a few years back.  He came for a visit and brought his recumbent bike.  I loved the idea of being able to sit down on a large seat and enjoy pedaling down bike paths.   With his guidance and bike building abilities, we now get to spend hours and at least 200 miles a year seeing places that a lot of people don't go.  While we were looking for parts and pieces, Ken found a recumbent, an EZ-1, in a sale ad.  We bought it and considered using it for parts until Barb rode it for the first time.  She smiled and it became her bike.  We found other parts for my bike and now we smile together as we ride.   Ken also helped me rebuild the 53 Pick-up truck and we throw the bikes in the back and ride from trail to trail. 

A lot of the feeling also comes from the fact that a few years back, Barb started managing our money and played Dave Ramsey better than he does.  She didn't have to preach all that pay your bills crap, she just did it.  When we retired, we did so with a stash of cash and the bills paid off.  So far we have been able to live off the retirement checks and she is holding on to the investments.  When we started to invest, we decided that the return of our money is more important than the return on our money and so far the volatility of the stock market hasn't dented her future plans.  Of all the 401 (k)s, 503 (b)s and whatever, only a very small went into a mutual stock program.  It has bounced up and down like a pogo stick and I am glad we don't have to depend on it to make ends meet.  Besides, all I have to do is to ask our account manager how the account is doing and he doesn't try to get us to invest more.

The third best thing we did was to purchase the 18 acres here on Tecumseh creek.  Any time I want to go out and wonder around in the forest, there are things to do that can take all the time I want to spend.  I could fuel a fireplace for years off the wood I have down right now.  Not that I want to fuel a wood stove to keep me busy. 

I guess the last thing that makes life wonderful is that I can manage to kill more time than anyone I know and Barb doesn't seem to mind.  Take her riding now and then and to the library and she is as content as a cat in the window.  Like that cat, I'm not sure what she does but as long as she enjoys herself, why would I bother her?