December is near

I watched the weatherman last night and he said that winter weather is on its way for the Heartland.  It will be 50 and windy today, which is always a sign that a front is headed our way.  He even mentioned that 4 letter word (Snow) for this weekend.  Dang, I hate it when that happens.  The good news is that it probably will not last long.  The ground is getting colder because of the below freezing at nights now so it won't melt as fast as it hits the ground.  

With 50 degrees outside today, I'll finally go out and pick up all the hoses.  I think I'll put them in my utility trailer this year and see if that works out.  Last year I put them in the garage in the attic and it was a major pain to get them down.  Oh well, when I get that done there will be leaves to rake and final trimming on the grass around the place.  Gotta make it all look nice.

I replaced a front tire on the truck about a month ago and I noticed that just today it is almost flat.  The good news is that I have a compressor and can air it up here at home.  Barb mentioned that she thought her tires felt mushy also.  I guess that a little maintenance on the cars won't hurt either.  I am pretty sure the antifreeze in the Ford and the Truck is way good enough but as much water as we added to the Buick better check it.  

 I used the last of the garlic smashed potatoes in my potato pancakes this morning.  I generally cook a few strips of bacon and then cook the pancakes in bacon grease. Yep, I know it is bad for my heart but a lot of people think I'm a heartless SOB so I'll play it loose until I clutch my right arm and/or die.  

I   Got my son Dave to pick up a solid state hard drive for my computer.  When he opened up the case to install it, he found that there was a second bay and he didn't have to remove the old hard drive.  With the magic of software, he had the new one clone the old one and  I am back in business twice as fast.  My next test is to see how long my battery life is with the new set up.  I have moved all my old pictures to my external drive and all the new one's will go on the old drive for a while.  Some time next year I'll start moving 2011 pictures over to the external drive as back up.  

Better get moving, I hear dishes being rattled upstairs as barb cleans up my mess in the kitchen. Wouldn't want her to think I am not gainfully occupied.  She is real good at finding things for me to do when she thinks I'm not pulling my considerable weight.



Starting the Day

I don't know what you do to start your day, but I can pretty much tell you what I expect each day to start like.  There is the mandatory trip to the bathroom and then a trip out to get the paper.  This trip is either preceded by or followed by a trip to the coffee pot.  I read the paper from the front page to the back with the funny papers near the last thing I read.  Breakfast is a cup of coffee and whatever.  If I was in a restaurant, it would be two eggs over medium, hash browns, ham and toast.  Juice is optional.  Pretty darned simple and I know it is a rut but it is like my shoes, I love comfortable. 

When I worked, the dress code was a mandatory uniform.  Green, green, optional sweater and black shoes.  Pretty simple and yet a lot like every day for most of 25 years.  I showed up and tried to make each day count for something.  The real break over for me was when I found that what my subordinates did was more important than what I did.  It is easy to spend time tied to the desk but I found that getting up off my duff and visiting at least one person during each break period was needed.  Kind of like getting a kiss from your mother.  You may not know why you need it, but I liked it.  

My life was like the same as much as I could make it for a lot of years.  My wife, Barbara, helped me set the path to achieve our common goals and provided a lot of  entertainment along the way.  It was pretty clear that where we are is a direct result of her hard work and encouragement.  If I for some stupid reason ever find fault for the daily life, all I need to do is remember that I worked darned hard to get here so I should just sit back and enjoy.

The other day, I commented to Barb that I was a little bored and I loved the feeling of being in my own home and bored.  After our busy travel schedule this fall it is nice to be home and bored. 



Negativity in the Holiday Season

It doesn't make me happy when the news of the day makes me mad.  I supported Senator Brownback for Governor and he has turned into my worst nightmare since he was elected.   I think Governments need to have goals for schools, but not mandates.  It may be only anecdotal that the best students are good in art and music but I haven't found anyone that says that no music or art will bring up the poorest students.  No child left behind is a great goal and we should try to fund it but not punish the students that can't get there for whatever reason.  

This past week a student that was on a field trip to Topeka "Tweeted" that she didn't like Governor Brownback and what he stood for.  One of Brownback staffers intercepted the tweet and they demanded an apology from the student.  Somewhere there is a village without their idiot.  The founders of our country made sure that we had free speech so we could have an honest exchange about our leaders.  This type of discussion might lead to a new Governor next time, but unlike many other countries it won't lead to the overthrow of the government because the people can't  be heard.  I don't like the ACLU for the most part, but I will send them money if the student gets suspended or damaged in any way by the school system.  We send our students to school so they can develop many diverse opinions and speak the clearly.  

As I have said many times, I hate Fred Phelps and his Westborough Baptist church's pickets.  Many of you have said there must be a way to stop him.  I absolutely will not even think about taking one iota of his freedom away because I don't agree with his message.  I hate the Occupy Wall Street movement but again, if they want to sleep in the park to get us to listen to their message, it beats the hell out of armed insurrection to get their message across.  It is the very foundation of out country that allows us to stand on the corner and tell people that we don't agree.  I for one want to keep my free speech, freedom of religion, right to bear arms, freedom of the press and the many other things guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.  

The one thing that makes me really sad is that the Newspapers and Major News organizations are losing their markets.  When they start making stuff up and shaping the news so it fits their agendas, they will fail.  If you cannot find truth in the news, you will find you own truth elsewhere.  It distresses me that the bloggers and tweeters are gaining in popularity and are about equal with the papers for their trustworthiness.  If you repeat crap long enough and loud enough people can start to believe.  Barbara said that an instructor told her one time that students need to have a built in crap detector.  I think we all need to tune our antenna to the truth and build up an immunity to the crap.  

I use the word crap because that's what Harry Truman did.  One time a lady said to Bess that she had to get Harry to stop saying crap after the word "Bull".  Bess was quick to point out that it took her the better part of 20 years to get him to use crap.  I call BS on a lot of what is happening today. 



Thanksgivings Past

The worst Thanksgiving for me was 1968.  I was a forward Observer out with a Mountaingnard Company in the Au Shau valley north west of Pleiku.  It was a long way from any other American unit and I was sent out with a radio that didn't work.  When I got to the unit, I had been told it was a three day operation and it turned out to be a three week operation.  I had to resupply myself with the Indigenous LRRP (Long range Recon Patrol) ration that was basically instant rice.  I did manage to keep one small C-ration Turkey meal and that was the meal I ate, Turkey and instant rice at room temperature.  It beat going hungry but not by much.  When I got back to base camp, it was all the signal officer could do to keep me from killing his assistant that gave me that bad radio.  I did insist he got a letter of reprimand for his negligence.  I found a tag inside the battery case that basically said the radio was a 15 lb paperweight.

The best Thanksgiving has always been any one that had family involved.  One year I went with my niece Janet to visit her daughter Amy in Alabama and it was a great time with a lot of new things to eat.  In addition to a deep fat fried turkey, everything else was a casserole.  Their tradition is to bake as many of the side dishes as they can.  I made my favorite Garlic mashed potatoes and and they loved them.  I always make too much and have potato pancakes the next day.  Take a cup of planned over (I always plan a little extra not left overs)  potatoes, a cup of flour, a teaspoon of Baking powder one egg and enough milk to make them batter like.  Cook them in a non stick pan with a little oil.  I eat mine without syrup but am not a snob if you like them that way.

This year I smoked a turkey on Wednesday and then finished it in the oven Thursday.  We had Dave and his wife Barbara over and had a nice laugh filled Thanksgiving.  I only mildly over ate this year and we still have a bunch of turkey left for enchiladas.   i think Dave asks for a smoked turkey just so there will be enough for a big batch of enchiladas.  Either today or tomorrow I will whip up the best I can make.  

I will always miss having my mother over for Thanksgiving.  She always told stories and we would laugh for hours.  It was always the beginning of the family season and soon the family would all be together for the Petty Family party.  This year, It will be here at Rabbit Run on the 17th of December.  Everyone will bring their favorite soup and the traveling trophy will be awarded for the best.  Jennifer will bring a salad and Barb will make her best rolls and we will provide the drinks.  We plan on a 1 PM start time but everyone is invited to come early and stay late as you want.  I know Carie and Dan have an office party that evening and there are always those that hate to drive after dark.   Weather permitting I have a hint that Rick from Oklahoma will be here.  I sure hope he manages to bring Kristin, Kristy and Ethan. 

In the Petty family we have a tradition of the saying a party is a party and if you can't come, we will miss you.  Those that can't be with us just will miss as many smiles as we can manage.  The second saying is that if you go home hungry from one of our meals, it is because you wanted to.  

May your holiday season start soon and go long.



Lost Blogs

For some reason unknown to me, when I try to update my blog on the road I manage to lose one or two each trip.  For that reason, I have about given up on trying to get one written and for it to stay in the computer when we travel.  We were on the road for a week to visit Barb's family in Idaho.  It was a great trip and we did get to see most of the family.  What makes it special to us is the chance to meet with all the nieces and nephews in Twin Falls and then in Boise.  There is just a special love for family visits that leaves a warm smile in our hearts.  

I guess there are several stages of life and this is one we are going through.  First stage is our own life where we learn to live together and make it all work.  Then comes the stage where we are concerned with our own child. We start to wonder about Grandchildren about the time our parents start to age and we focus on the past and the future at the same time.  My parents are gone now and Barb's parents are getting older.  

The best thing for us right now is the fact that we have the assets and income to live comfortably and are pretty darned happy right here at home.  It is great to travel but it is also great to be home.  About a week and I am ready to be here.  I run out of ability to cope about the time I run out of clean clothes.  Much over a week and I need two suitcases.  I can't manage everything in one trip that way so unless we can travel in the car one week is about the limit.

For some reason I thought the Jay hawk game in Maui started at Midnight and expected that when we got to our car the game would just be starting.  It was halftime and at least we got to listen to the game on the way home from the airport.  It was raining just slightly and it had been a long day and we don't communicate very nicely under those circumstance. 

Oh well, things to do and places to see.  Got to get that Thanksgiving turkey home and thawed out. 



What a Wonderful Day

Friday night we went to see the young Jay Hawks play one of their preseason games.  About half way through the second half, they put a guy up in the rafters of Allen Field House and he dropped T-Shirts with parachutes down to the crowd.  I was sitting there during the time out and one actually hit me in the head.  I had no clue but I reacted fast enough to bring it down and let Barb grab the shirt.  I was absolutely oblivious to the whole affair until I  was hit.  No, I am not goint to tell anyone that I was hurt or mad at the event, just surprised.  For some reason I felt detached there in amongst the 16,000 people and felt like I had missed my afternoon nap.  

The really nice day was yesterday when we did nothing but eat three nice meals and zone out with Football and good books.  I didn't think that just going to a game would wear me out completely so I am now wondering if my blood sugar got low and caused some of the zoned out feeling.  About 1 PM yesterday I had a similar feeling and after i ate some of Barb's yummy stew that feeling went away.  Oh well, I guess old people should have different feelings now and then just to prove they are alive.

I guess I want to say that yesterday was one of those days that will just slip away in the many we have but it was memorable because it wasn't.  I have had many days that were great and many that were terrible and now and then a nothing day is one for the books (or blogs)  

Going to try for two in a row.



My Rights vs Your Rights

When Barb and I went to Morocco, we were cautioned to not say anything against the King of Morocco while in his country.   Sometimes we, as Americans, forget that what we have as rights in our country may not always travel well.  In fact, a lot of people think that we in America are free to say anything and because it is our right, we will sound intelligent.  My prime recipient in the "Stupid is as Stupid says" award is the Fred Phelps and his Westborough Church  protestors.   They put all kinds of things on their signs and you can almost feel the spittle from their ignorance as you drive by where they are protesting something.  They boil down Jesus' words, "Man shall not lie down with man as he does with a woman" into "God Hates Fags!"  I wonder how many hours they had to search through the bible and how low the IQ of the person was to make that missive.

For the record, my rights are very important to me but I do have a sense of what their limits are.  I am pretty sure that about the third time I got my face punched it became aware that where I said my free speech was important.  Your right to tell everyone what you think is often slander or a punchable offense if said in the presence of the person you say it about.  Often a group of people can be arrested if they don't have a parade permit when they assemble.  Especially if they don't do it peaceable.  

So, I encourage you all to read your rights and understand them before the Police tell you that in spite of free speech, you have the right to remain silent, or look stupid when someone with a cell phone makes a movie of your rants. 



One small story

In my earlier post, I mentioned that I had been in Pinion Canyon, Colorado as a part of the Headquarters of the Kansas Army National Guard.   There,on about the third day in the field, we had a wind storm that blew down most of our tents.   The next morning as I went out to survey the damage, I spotted something red over in the edge of our position.  As I got closer, I realized that there were a lot of colored pieces of cloth there in the scrub brush.  It seems that the women had  a washing session the afternoon before and that the close line they erected in their tent held their undergarments went down in the storm.  Their undergarments were now scattered across the backside of our camp.

Not having served in the field with women, I guess I did not think about such things.  In the Active Army and the Field Artillery I was with, we didn't have women in our field units.  I sent one of NCO's over to the S-1 tent where most of the women were and had him tell the girls where they could gather up their belongings.  

That was my welcome to the problems of having a co-ed military unit.   I have laughed about it several times with my friends and now appreciate some of the situations on active duty more than I did.  



Not being a numerologist or a person who has a phobia about numbers, the date above is just the date above.  If you are a veteran it has a little more significance in that is a holiday named after the service we performed.  As an ORAG, an  Old Retired Army Guy I would say I resemble that remark.  It is a significant date for all those that served not just those that served in combat.  

I think this is a good time to tell a little story about one of the finest people I ever met.  SFC Romans had attended an M-1 training session and his unit did not go to the Annual training period that the majority of the 35th Division was attending. It was in the middle of no and god dammed where at Pinion Canyon and it was far from the support of any main city.  As a member of the National Guard State headquarters, we put together a command and Control team and someone picked up SFC Romans to attend with our cell.  In case you don't know a lot about the Guard, the State Headquarters does not have a lot of field training and SFC Roman's addition really helped by adding a field trained NCO to our mix.  Little things like putting up tents and running the radio's were a task that we needed a lot of help doing.  I for one have done it all but there was only one of me and I needed help.  Things went well until the third night in the field.

On that third night, a storm came sweeping across the plains of SW Colorado and without any tracked vehicles, we were on our own.  A micro burst hit our camp and blew our tents down big time.  I think the only thing that saved us was that we had several tables down the middle of the tent  and when the tent poles came crashing down most of us were under the nearest thing we had to overhead cover.   I had grabbed my helmet and I'm sure that it kept me from getting a concussion when the main tent support crashed down so hard that the table legs were broken.

Having a good NCO there helped us put the tens back up quickly and he brought the soldiers together in the Operations tent and we had a weapons cleaning time.  Many of the soldiers with us did not have a .45 issued to them as their normal weapon and he just calmly showed them how to take apart and clean each type of weapon.  By the time he was finished, the guys were all laughing and telling stories.  You would have thought it was a unit that had been together for years not just days.  

Later on that night, I told SFC Romans what a fine job he had done and we talked about our time in the service.  He was disappointed that he got in the army in 1971 and by the time he was on rotation for Vietnam, they were cutting the troop strength so much that he didn't get a chance to be a combat veteran.  I told him that good people are where you find them and I was glad to find him here and now.

Early the next year, a message came down to my office that the Army needed experienced NCOs, especially those with M-1 tank skills.  I called SFC Romans and asked him if he was still on the kick that a combat patch was what he needed.  He said hell yes and I told him that if he was to get to my office in the morning I would get him a set of orders.  He came over that day and brought his gear.  We put him on a plane to Germany that afternoon.  He told me later that in Germany he went right to the replacement company and told them that he had a request to go to the Big Red One and they directed him to a flight leaving in 30 minuted to Quait.  From the repo depot there, they sent him right to a tank line company and he, within 48 hours of leaving Kansas, was a tank commander when they kicked off the attack.  

About a month later, he came home a well decorated combat veteran and had letters of commendation from a number of his commanders up the line.  When he came in the office that day, he brought his wife and brand new baby.  Crap, I wouldn't have asked him to go if I had known how close his wife was to having a baby.  She took me into my office and told me that the only thing Joe ever wanted out of the Military was a chance to show what a good soldier could do in combat.  I relaxed and later on Joe kind of joked with me that in his humble opinion, combat is one of the quickest ways he knew of to get killed.  

On veteran's day, I salute the now retired Sergeant Major Joe Romans and the many soldiers that have displayed the kind of leadership and service that has made our Military what it is.  I firmly believe that our winning ways are the result of the leadership shown in the middle of our Military not at the top.  Salute to all those fine NCO's I have served with and those I have not met.

MUD, COL (Ret)


Fast Times at Rabbit Run

For some reason, I have been on the slow track for about a week.  I don't seem to have the same get up and go that I had.  Not sure why but I did even get barb to take me for a walk yesterday to see if getting out and "Blowing off the stink" would help.  I even used that term to Barb and she reminded me that when I used that on a bunch of preschool students one of the little kids said, :But Teacher, we don't stink!"  

Today it is to be in the 60's and time for me to get out and round up all the garden hoses that are scattered from one end of the place to the other.  There is a little bit of cleaning up the joint that is on my list also.  We'll see what gets done and what just escapes my attention.

I seem to be having a problem with my blog.  For the past few times I have opened it it seems to be getting smaller and smaller.  If I go to the control center and make it big enough to read, the rest of my screens don't fit on the page.  Damn computer.

I can tell that the weather is getting ready for winter because the visitors at the feeders and suet block are trying to eat me out of house and home.  I don't remember it being this bad even in the worst of winter last year.  Perhaps they are trying to fatten up for a hard winter.  

Better get a move on and get something done.



Dang, I did it Again

For months, Barb and I talked about going to Bentonville, AR to see the opening of the Crystal Bridges American Art Museum on the 11th.   Wouldn't you know that the first game in our half season ticket package to watch the hawks is on the same day.  I hate it that we over scheduled ourselves.  I'm sure that there will be other times to see the Museum and perhaps there will be other chances to catch  it after the water feature is finished. CBS This Morning had a short piece about the museum and it looks beautiful.

This morning there was a TV program that talked about people that do not shut their brains down completely at night.  The said that insomnia is something that makes it tough for a lot of people to be productive during the day for up to a week each month.  Some of my best dreams are those nights where my mind is in full race mode and I wake up with either an old problem solved or a new idea to try.  The even better news is that I can take a nap to catch up on my sleep.  Most of the time if I miss my sleep, I can make the shortage up the next night.  

Last evening we celebrated our daughter-in-laws birthday with a trip to her favorite restaurant.  The "Rib Crib" is a pretty good place and even on Saturday evening you can get a seat at one of their tables.  I wish I could find a way to help them get over the hurdle and be consistent enough to draw bigger crowds and stay open.  There is no one thing that is bad, just not a consistent quality across the menu to make them top rate.  I guess when you are next door to a Texas Roadhouse and in the same city as Boss Hogs, it is tough to work your way up to number one. 

This past week we took Barb Jr to Kansas City to visit Nebraska Furniture Mart and replace her couch and love seat.  I also went over on Wednesday to put the old couch out on the back porch so the new one could be put in the right place.  Friday I took my truck and trailer over and hauled off the old stuff and some building debris I made earlier in the summer.  Dave had to go to work so I had to load the stuff in the trailer by myself.  I am fairly proud that I have developed a way to work smart rather than hard.  My back is fine today and had I tried to muscle everything I would be out flat and on pain med. 

Oh well, things to do  and places to go.



Bright and Shiny

I am not sure what the rest of the world expects, but every once in a while I want to wake up bright and shiny.  Well, I want to wake up bright and then after some ablutions be shiny.  The only sad part is that as a retiree, unless there is some where to go, the shiny part is really not a priority.  I can go a couple of days without a shave and I am the only one that notices.   Life was a lot easier when all I had to do was put on the light green shirt with the dark green  pants and those shoes that stayed patent leather shiny.  The really only choice was did I need a tie, the jacket (or blouse as the Military called it) or the black sweater.   Now, it is nearing 10:15 and I am wearing my sweats.

The other day, we took our Daughter-in-law to Nebraska Furniture Mart in KC and bought her a new couch and love seat.   When I went over to help Dave clear out the old sectional couch, I noticed that the couch really matches the curtains and the wall color.  We are glad to have the kids in our lives and having them over for meals now and then.  It does give me a chance to show off my cooking and a chance to have some new conversations in our lives.  When Barb brings over her Nephews is when life really gets fun.  Watching those two boys grow into fine young men is a treat.  

This morning I watched a streaming video of the Arkansas Supreme Court as they heard arguments for the Lawyer for Karl Roberts who killed my Grand Niece Andi.  I am not sure what the final outcome of the whole process will be.  He did it, he admitted it and even if the courts had a retrial, there is more than enough evidence to prove he did it and was sane enough to pay the price for what he did.  Yes, I want them to put him out of my misery and be done with it.  This has gone on for 12 years and it is beyond the stage where it is like picking a scab.  The only saving grace in the matter is that he is sitting on death row and sees the sun only an hour a day and unless he likes solitaire conversations he just has to hate it.  I would have gone crazy years ago.

I am going over to Dave's house to meet the furniture truck about noon.  I think I will also go get a haircut afterwards and shave off this silly mustache.  Barb says it makes me look even older than I am.  I guess as hard as she works to look nice and younger, I can make somewhat of an effort.  'Cides, she thinks the mustache is prickly or beyond that stage tickles.  Oh well...



Fall in the Forest

When the weather starts to turn cool, we can always depend on the critters and insects thinking that our house is just another place to over winter in.  Barb always catches the spiders in a jar and gives them the heave ho out the side door.  I would rather give them the heel-toe smash but if I have the chance, I'll make her happy by throwing them out.  last evening I went in to he bathroom to be confronted by a small mouse.  I have the defense in depth traps set in the garage but this little guy must have found an alternate way in.  I hope he finds the peanut butter laced trap soon.

Barbara kind of laughs at the spiders, as she claims they keep the roaches down.  That and regular spraying and lots and lots of roach traps.  Roaches and ants are outside bugs that I want no part of living with.  

Today is one of the last days in the 70's for the year.  Right before a front passes, the wind will always blow from the south and it will be windy and warm (er).  There is no way you can rake the leaves and burn with the wind gusting to 30 MPH.  

This picture is at least two years old.

This summer when the Reimer's were here, the girls loved to use our cameras to take pictures.  Barbara bought both of the girls their own little camera and yesterday we got a DVD of their pictures taken at Disney World. Sea World and Epcot.  What a wonderful eye they have.  I would have loved to have them narrate the pictures but for now, I can hear their giggles in my heart.  They are just the right age to start the journey through the world with an eye open to new things.  

Better run and see if there is anything needed before the rain tomorrow.  Write if you get work.