PaPa Petty's 90th Birthday

Warren Petty of Arvada, Colorado turned 90 this past weekend and Barbara and I managed to wrangle an invitation to the party. Warren is my Father's brother.   I cannot express in words the love and fun that was had by all. 

This is the core family and I wish you could meet them all.  Warren was a Pilot in WWII and he married Mattie when he got out of the Army Air Corps.  Mattie was a wonderful mother to Jim, Linda and Kathy.  I am sure that her loving care has kept Warren alive and well all these years. 

As soon as I can figure out how to download the movies I shot on the trip I will get them up on facebook.

After three days we decided that guests and fish should be thrown out so we moved on up the road a ways.  I think the town we are in is Rawlings, WY.   Barb started the day early and she is crashed and asleep.  I am not too far behind her. 



Have they All Gone Crazy?

There is something weird going on when Nancy Pelosi and I agree on anything. She said in a nice way that Anthony Weiner needs to see Professional Help.  To complicate matters, Barbara told me this AM that she agreed with Lynn Jenkins on an issue.  To show you how out of kilter other things are:

Anthony Weiner is one of the least trustworthy looking guys I have ever seen.  Yet, he has had two online affairs and sent pictures of his whoha to them.  He resigned from Congress over the first one and has his wife up humming "Stand By My Man" on TV this week.  He would last about a New York Minute out here in the Heartland.

Today Rush Limbaugh said as much as he really did not agree with Bill Clinton he probably would be fun to go out to a ball game with and chase women afterwards. 

The Mayor of San Diego has many of his staff members filing charges over sexual harassment and he thinks he can just stand his ground and stay in office. 

The Attorney General  of the US is going to sue Texas to get them to get approval for a change on their voting laws.  Didn't he hear the Supreme Court's ruling on this just last week?  The Voting Rights act died an ugly death Erik, get with the program.

The Wiki leaks guy is in a South America embassy seeking protection against a rape charge in Sweden and he announced he is running for a senate seat in Australia.

It must be time for me to get the hell out of town for a couple of weeks.  The good news is I can write from the road.



Long John Silver

What has happened to Customer Service?   Let me explain my meeting engagement with a cashier and her manager today at Long John Silver's.

First thing I saw when walking up to the store was a cod/shrimp platter with onion rings on a sign just outside the front door.  I walked up to the counter and ordered that platter.  The cashier said they didn't have a platter for that combination.  I told her that I just saw it on a sign right outside the front door. Her manager standing there at the counter doing something but not waiting on me said they have a platter like than and she needed to look on the register.  Sure enough, there was such a platter and with iced tea, the total came to $11.42 which I happened to have the exact change.   The cashier gave me my ticket  and I walked to a table. 

Just as I sat down, I noticed the ticket said $3.98  and I walked back over to the cashier.  I said she must have given me the wrong ticket as my order was $11.42.  The cashier looked horrified and asked the manager to come over to the automated ordering system and they had a long animated conversation.  I figured that it was not my problem so I went back to my table.  Here is where it started to get funny. (or not)

The manager came over to my table and handed me the $3.98 cents and said I would have to re-order my food.  I took the $3.98 and walked back to the cashier and asked her just how much had I paid?  I reminded her that I gave her the exact change and it damn sure wasn't $3.98.  I also reminded the manager who was standing there that she was the one that pointed out that there was a cod/shrimp platter and she was there while the money was exchanged.  The manager started to argue that I only gave them $3.98 and I told the cashier to speak up and tell her boss what I wanted and what I paid.  The manager took the $3.98 out of my hand and said she would bring me my order. 

Needless to say, even if the meal had been spectacular (it wasn't) I would not have rung the bell by the door on my way out.  Oh, by the way, I did send a note to Long John Silver's corporate office
that detailed this whole problem.  Can't wait to see what happens.


Thanks to my Mother

When my mother died, she left her four children a small amount of oil royalty money from  gas and oil wells in Clark County, Kansas.   At first they paid off with a small stipend each month and it amazes me how that has grown into something nice for our retirement.  To Wilbur and Virginia Schawo. I say Thanks.  At least once a month we try to do something nice for someone else with the money.   There are two little girls swinging on a very nice swing set because of it. 

Friday night we had a 50-60 MPG wind storm blow through with a good rain. The good news is that we got an inch and a half of rain.  The bad news is that our trees look like they have gone through a war.  That is especially true of the pine trees that we planted several years ago.  They were blighted this last year and the wind blew a bunch of them down this year.  I have them partially cleaned up but my burn pile is getting way big. 

Barb had seriously tried to get rid of her 50 Ford Custom Coupe and the 50 Ford Parts car.  The custom coupe is a businessman's coupe with an actual seat in the rear.  The businessman's coupe had a trunk that could be used to haul hay.   So far the only offer is a guy with a pickup truck that he would trade for the deal.  Barb doesn't want me to have another vehicle on the place so a trade was out of the question.  When the end of August hits, I know there are some car salvage guys that will haul them off and pay us a little. 

Have I told you lately that I am living a pretty darned good life.  If I could just get my ambition under check from time to time I could live a very peaceful existence.  Instead of using my money to work for me, I tend to jump in and work my butt off.  In some ways it keeps me active but in the long run I wonder if it will kill me?  I do find that the more I do, the less the everyday aches and pains bother me.  Oh sure, they hurt a little more in the start of the projects but at the end of the day I feel just worn out not washed up.  Yes, there is not a large amount of distinction there but it is my fantasy and I'm sticking with it.

I think I have finally found someone at the IRS that is reading what I actually am sending them.  I sent an appeal to a $1,600 fine and I got a letter from them that if I would just send them some additional documentation they would return my fine.  Yea!  that paperwork is in the mail and I hope to have that load lifted off the Petty Gang's shoulders.   It is not a big amount, it is the fact that I have tried to do exactly what they asked in a timely manner and was whacked for it.  Now it will be all right.  Yea IRS!

Better get to doing something and get on track.  Have a great day out there.




What Else Did I miss out on?

This morning I was listening to a music channel while I wasted some time on the computer.  They were showing a special movie made on the life of Bob Marley.  Back in the day, I was put off by his Rastafarian hair and didn't listen to his music.  As the program progressed, I listen to the pure tone of his music and realized he was a unique talent and one that I overlooked.  I wonder what else did my preconceived notions cause me to overlook?  Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of things I did hear/eat/see and I'm sure that Bob Marley was just the tip of the didn't see iceberg.

By now, you probably realize that I freely admit that I am a prisoner of my many pre conceived notions.  I told my students that I loved 57 Chevy's,  Del Monte Catsup and McDonald's French fries.  I openly shop at Wal-Mart for the space to walk around the store in a controlled climate and cheap prices.  If you don't like it there, do not shop there.  In the mean time I don't care if you go there or not.  Don't like gay marriage, don't get one.  Ditto - abortion, fast food or whatever.  At 65 (soon to be 66) I am getting way too old to be subject to the whims of the unwashed masses.  I will admit that I was encouraged to write on this blog and am one of the few family members that still do. 

I do not twitter and wonder if that is limiting my contact with others.  Seems like Facebook is good enough and I don't need other things to stimulate my senses.  In fact, the biggest limitation right now is this stupid summer cold I have.  My blood pressure skyrockets when I take the little red pills that reduce the swelling of my sinuses.  I just have to turn into a mouth breathing snot producing monster for a few days.  I am not a good patient.  In fact I am probably an impatient patient.

Oh well, I hear Barb stirring so I'd better move on.




A comedian the other night said that he could solve our tax problems by just having the Canadians pay all our taxes.  We went on to name a bunch of Canadian born people here that are benefitting from our laws and  subjecting us to their side of the story.  He cited Celine Deion as one of the interlopers from Canada.

Here is a thought. How about all of the Americas joining forces and seeing if there isn't a good solution in there somewhere.  Call everything north of the Panama Canal America and see what we get.  Couldn't be worse than what we have. 


Cowboys and Indians

The scene in our big cities is a lot like the old west.  People are shooting each other and then intimidating witnesses to keep justice from being done.  Our media and a lot of the black leaders are making hay over the Trayvon Martin case and ignoring the bigger problems.  The last thing I want is for the National Guard to have to go into our cities and play cowboys and Indians because some idiots have whipped them into a frenzy. 

In my perfect world. the Military would bring all those forward deployed people home and protect our borders. Stop the flow of illegal people and drugs and things just might get better.  In some places, it can't get worse.  At least Detroit has thrown in the towel and  has admitted that they are a failed experiment in social programs.  I wish I had a good solution to that problem.  Nope, not a clue how to unwind the 50 years of Government sponsored poverty and that mind set that the Government owes people anything but basic support of the Laws.

Does anyone else remember the Little Rascals or the "Our Gang Comedies?"   One of the characters would say "Oh Shaddup!"  when someone would say something stupid.   Here are some of my Oh Shaddup things:
  • In this world, it takes identification to conduct almost any business anywhere.  You can't get a phone, rent a house, cash a check or use your food stamps without some identification.  Ask people to have identification to vote and you would think we are committing rape on them.  Oh Shaddup.
  • One of the two parties is shouting to everyone that bigger and bigger Government will be our downfall.  Then thy want to impose Government control over Abortion.  Oh Shaddup.
  • While listening to the news the other day it was reported that the US Government has pledged 6 Billions dollars to stop the flow of illegal ivory and rhino horns.   over 40% of every dollar we spend is borrowed and added to the debt the future citizens will have to pay makes this intolerable.   If this was a program to stem the suffering from AIDS, you would not hear a peep out of me.  Oh Shaddup.
  • I hear people are mad about the intrusion in their daily lives by the Government.  Then I read on Facebook the daily travels and postings from where they travel.  There are also a lot of real personal things discussed.  If you want to be private, don't post your every thought or action on Facebook.  Oh Shaddup.
  • The wife and I worked hard to get our college educations.  We finished with the very minimum of debt.  I'll bet most of our friends owed more on their cars than we did on our student loan. Now everyone is real mad about the raise in the interest rate on student loans.  Don't like the rate or the loans, don't get one.  Oh Shaddup.
  • Lately there has been a lot of people talking about letting God Control everything and it will all work out.  I call BS on that.  Your life is under your control.  Make a plan, show up and work that plan and things will get better.  Make sure you show up in your work clothes when it is time to get busy.  I won't ask a thing of you, in fact I have helped a lot of people to lead better lives and probably will continue to do so.  Oh Shaddup.
  • The approval rating for our congress was at less than 14% before the last election.  87% of those running got re-elected.  I can see the problem there can you?  Oh Shaddup.
  • I don't think Barack Obama is the best President we have ever had but I will promise you that we have had some real stinkers in that Office.  With that said, he is the President of the United States and deserves our support as he has one of the toughest jobs in our land.  Next time get up off your ass and support your candidate.  In the mean time. Oh Shaddup.
  • I don't know what it is like in your neck of the woods, but the difference between Jay Hawk Fans and Wildcat fans leads to a lot of bad words and feelings.  All their teams are comprised of young men and women that are trying to better their lives.  The Universities will go on if they finish first or last in the Conference. Shout to support your team but don't shout at me when I support mine.  Oh Shaddup.
  • There is a commercial on TV where an unshaven man talks about his rights and he is smoking an electronic cigarette to make his point.  My point is that no matter what kind of cigarette you are smoking, it is expensive and a personal habit.  Do what you want to do but leave me out of it.  Oh Shaddup.
  • Why do some of the current reality shows just show the really stupid side of people.  The bickering between Seth and his sister makes Gold and Silver Jewelry show hard to watch.  Seeing the Grandfather and Chumley on Pawn Stars fill time with wasted motion is not why I watch.   Watching some man chase snapping turtles and Honey Boo fart are just beyond my endurance. Living in primitive conditions for money is just plain stupid.  Oh Shaddup. 
  • If I had the answer to the Gun control problem, I would make sure that everyone knew my thoughts.  It is illegal for a convicted felon to possess guns.  Yet, you read about then with guns every day.  If it doesn't work to make it illegal for them to have them, what make you think it would work to make it illegal for me to have one?   We do need to take them off the streets in Detroit, Chicago and New York City but leave those of us in the Heartland out of that discussion.  I think this is about where I started.
I'm sure that you too have a list of things you dislike.  If you don't like mine, post yours.  I don't go around and just like things you write.  I write my own.



Manslaughter and Murder

I have been thinking about a lot of the misconceptions that fill our airways lately.  Here is a quick summary of some of my thoughts:
  • If I leave home and have a gun in my pocket there is potential there that gun carriers must face.  If the gun is loaded and it is bumped or accidentally fired, I am responsible for the action.  Chances are that it will result in some kind of civil penalty but can result in up to manslaughter.  As long as there is no intent to do wrong, it is some form of negligence.
  • If you and I talk about doing something bad with my gun, we can be found guilty of conspiracy and that has its own set of penalties.  I am not sure where that stops but if you tell people to harm someone, you are right on the verge of conspiracy from State to State.
  • It is not until there is a deliberate action taken with the gun that I would ever reach the level of murder.  If I am just pissed off and kill some I don't know, that is probably second degree murder.  If I take my gun and a deliberate intent to shoot someone that it gets nearer to first degree murder.  To the point where I draw my weapon and shoot someone.  Add intent, to the shooting of the weapon and then you get right up there to first degree murder.  In Texas that will get you in the express lane for execution. In most States it will just put you on death's row for years and years.
The other factor in all of this is the law within your State.  I think the number is up to 17 States where you have the right to defend yourself if someone makes you fear for your life or severe bodily harm.  This alone should make most people shy about just hitting other people for any reason.  When in doubt, get out your cell phone and call the Police to come sort it out.  

I would feel better if there was some allowance to wear a weapon in "Open Carry."  There would not be any doubt how far the event or action could escalate.  That way, doing or being stupid would get you no sympathy from anyone.  Had Zimmerman had some kind of uniform on and openly carried his weapon the results might have been different in the Florida case.  Then again it might not have made any difference.

The bottom line is that a jury of his peers found that George Zimmerman acted within the law in Florida and was not guilty.  It is kind of like abortion, If you don't like it, don't have one.  In my perfect world the people of a State would know the laws and be prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly.



Zimmerman is Innocent or Not Guilty?

Let me start that this case is upsetting to many people but within the framework of the law in Florida Zimmerman was found not Guilty because his actions were within the law in the State of Florida.  I do not advocate Neighborhood Watch groups go out with one person and that they be armed.  But, in this case it was legal so Zimmerman is free.  The laws vary from State to State and I hope that if I ever get crossways with the Law, I am afforded the same protection.  I will do my best to not get crossways with the law, but I hope what is reasonable and not beyond a reasonable doubt protects me.  That applies to the laws as written in the State in which I live. 

If we want to find something that should really get our juices flowing, how about the death toll in the city of Chicago over the 4th of July weekend.  I think the toll was 50+.  There are a bunch of young Trevon Martins that did not go home there.  If you just want to find answers, look for the questions where the big problems lie.  

It is my opinion that the cities are full of young men that have lost the feeling that there is a fair system and a good way for them to live and raise a family.  If you would rather get high than face your problems head on, there will always be someone to sell you drugs.  We have been facing the "War on Drugs" since Richard Nixon.  We know that the majority of the drugs are being brought in through Mexico and we can't seem to find a way to shut that border.  I'll bet if we brought our troops home from all over the world and put them along the border on a rotating schedule we could stop that traffic. 

But, that is another problem that we can't seem to solve.  On his trip to Africa, the President pledged 7 Billion dollars to stop the illegal killing (Poaching) of elephants and rhino's for their horns and ivory.  The sadder fact in Africa is there are millions dying of Aids and we are spending money on animals.  Money that we don't have.  At least spend our money on people.  Even if the rest of the world hates our guts. 

Can you tell that I would bring in our spending and focus on at least the top ten things right here in America?  Lets see if I can put together a list or my top 10:
  • Jobs that are meaningful.  If we spend dollars on getting jobs where they are needed, lets make them do something we need done.  I don't want a WPA type job corps but people to help our schools educate our children, plugging the flow of illegals and reinforcement for our Law Enforcement. 
  • Revamp of the Tax system.  I feel we need to throw out the old code and look for a flat percentage of every dollar from every source.  Focus the IRS on those that are responsible for withholding the taxes.  In my perfect world, Deductions be dammed.
  •  Help our States work on changes that makes our system stronger.  The tax rate difference between Texas and California has to be for a reason.  What is it and why doe it work that way?
  • How can we make our Education system stronger?  Just what will it take to help those that aren't getting to up to the standard to the bare minimums?  Don't blame it on the teachers that are doing their best, find ways to get them the help they need.  If some kids need a student teacher ration of 10:1, don't force the classroom sizes to swell to 30. 
  • Either lower the gasoline taxes or make the States stop earmarking the Fuel Tax revenue to other places.  Spend the money they take on the roads which generate the taxes.
  • If I can get 25MPG in my Crown Victoria full sized ford, don't tell me that we can't improve the overall gas mileage in our cars.  My brother has a Prius that has 100,000 miles on it and it runs fine.  I am sure that Rick is proud of his mileage.
  • It is a travesty that we focus on the Zimmerman case and allow hundreds of young black men to die in our cities. I don't know how to solve that but I know it is not by looking in the gun closets here in the heartland.
  • What happened to the black communities in our cities that provided support to the people that live in our cities?  At one time there were barbershops, grocery stores, dry cleaners, funeral homes and drug stores in the cities where the people live.  They were proud of the communities and they kept the money at home where it turned over and made the cities a better place.
  • I would personally encourage our TV providers to air programs that educate at least a larger percentage of the time.  I personally watch Documentaries and travel programs that expose me to new and different ideas.  I am a junkie over "How it's made" type programs. 
  • One major change in that every law must have a review provision and a sunset period.  The law of unintended consequences would not set in in my perfect world.  Laws that add to the debt burden with out a cost effective benefit would not roll in.  Those laws that do not now have any benefit on the people would die and have an expiration time.  I would tell the legislatures to start looking for bad laws not new ones. 


Eagle Project

Nick, one of Barb's former students (Long ago and just up the street) is doing his Eagle Project today at the Topeka Humane Society.  He is helping them raise funds as they open their new facility.  We will go there about noon and leave some items we have for our former dog and leave a cash donation.   Nick was always one of those kids that when I saw him in the hall at school was quick to smile and come over to say hi.  He was a cute kid and  loved to talk.  With his great smile, he needs to run for office.  I'll bet he could easily be smarter than our Governor.  Wait, I think I have a combat boot smarter than our Governor.  Oh well, I am looking forward to seeing Nick today and hope his project goes well.

This morning I woke up early and made a bowl of sliced up fruit for breakfast.  It reminded me of a part of the breakfast we would have on our trip to Germany.  Made me want some crusty bread and some strawberry cream cheese.  I also liked their small tins of potted meats on those rolls.  Throw in a good slice of stinky cheese and man was that ever a good meal.  Barbara said I should just soft boil an egg to feel at home.  I reminded her that she didn't like those soft boiled eggs.  She said that she didn't really like hard boiled eggs let alone the runny kind. 

If you had unlimited funds, what would you have for breakfast every day?   For me, 2 eggs over medium, a slice of ham and hash browns with sides of toast and coffee would be on my list 365 days a year.  That's what I eat when we go out for breakfast as often as I can.  Bark loves a cashew blueberry pancake and a cuppa tea.   I think my consumption of meat at every meal kind of upsets her but  after 45 years it doesn't surprise her. 

Speaking of Political matters, I really don't understand the Conservative part of the Republican party's involvement in the abortion issue.  They champion smaller Government and want most Government involvement  stopped and yet in one of the most critical issues that want to have the Government stop all abortions.  Let me be clear, I think abortion is a horrible way to have birth control but I find it even worse that the Government wants to stick their camel's nose under the tent flap where what a woman and her doctor are going to do should remain private.  

Second issue - The other day one of the radio talk show hosts said that if we want to stop gun crimes, we need to have stiffer penalties.  If that were true, Texas would have no gun crimes because they have the most aggressive death penalty laws on the books.  As Ron White (of Tater Salad Fame) said, "Texas has the death penalty and they have an express lane if you kill one of us."   That's why I guess us old guys need to retire.  The complications of modern life could easily overwhelm us.   

In some ways I think it would be better if we all were forced to carry a gun and use it if we see a crime.  I do believe in the Mad Dog rule where if you are convicted or three or more people see you kill someone they just take you out behind the jail and shoot you.  The again, the concept of justice without mercy makes a lot of sense to me.  I am sure that there are a lot of you out there that feel we don't have enough mercy as the law stands now. 

Speaking of mercy,  When will the government just come to understand that if we would legalize marijuana and tax it like alcohol we could all be in a better place.  I would take all those young men in prison that are there because of the possession or sale of a little weed and put them back out on the street.  It would cut our expenditure in the prison system and raise extra taxes.  As a bonus, I would make it an IRS matter who pays the taxes.  I would stop the IRS intrusion in the lives of guys like me and sick them on the Pot sellers and people that should be withholding taxes.  Take what you need and leave the rest of us alone.  If sales taxes at the point of sale makes sense why wouldn't people just get used to it as a part of life.  Make it a point of payment tax and move on smartly. 

Oh well, from Dogs to Politicians and back.  Better move away from the keyboard before I tell the Republican party that appoint of Payment tax would make them real popular and we would have them intruding on the abortion issue in a bigger way.



Kiss 'Em Goodbye

The other day I came home for lunch and when I left, I couldn't find Barb and I failed to say goodbye or give her a kiss.  Bummer.  Sometimes I get so mission oriented that I forget the finer things in life.  I was all set to get the siding on the west side of the rental house done that I just plumb forgot.  I'll try to not make that mistake again.  She even told me that she was in the kitchen making me a bowl of watermelon.  The watermelon was good later but it was sad to see that she was miffed.  I need to slow down sometimes and remember that people are the most important thing and the rental house is just that. 

I think there is sometimes too much of the Old Colonel left in me and I get too mission oriented.  I try to not deliberately hurt people's feelings but What more can I say? 

I am going to spend a week in Yellowstone next month.  I am really looking forward to seeing the place.  It was our first National park and I have never been there.  I guess it's a lot like a lot of places I haven't been to yet.  Another T-Shirt for the collection.  I hope to take lots of pictures on the trip and I am using the monopod to hold the camera steady.  It has a X44 Lens and it also doesn't let me really know where the focus is.  Well, at least not very well.  It is a Nikon so the set up and camera controls are pretty much the same. 

I am also going to celebrate the birthday of three 90 year old people this trip.  My uncle Warren in Denver, my father-in-law in Idaho and one of Barb's Aunts.  It should be fun to see a lot of the western family that I haven't seen for a while.   There are a couple of people that I haven't met yet and am really looking forward to the pleasure.  This is only my 66th Birthday. 

Oh well, better get to moving on.  Have a great weekend out there.



The heat is back

Today when I worked at the rental houses it was a cool 106 on the heat index. Tomorrow it will be even hotter with a quick break due in for Wednesday.  I had a couple of guys scheduled to help me tomorrow and did a quick reschedule for Wednesday.  Tomorrow will be a fun day here in the morning but the afternoon will be spent with a good book. 

A couple of weeks back there was a really good rain and the renter said that water came in the utility room.  Today I peeled off the siding that I put on a few years back.  I saw that it was pretty rough but if the gutter had been doing its job, the water should not have pooled on the patio.  The gutter on that part of the patio was almost full of debris and I cleaned that out first.  I took it fairly easy and drank a lot of water as I worked.  I can't work as hard and long as I once did but I do manage to do a fair amount of work. 

Earlier this evening I was watching a new segment of Major Crimes and Barb asked me about the Trail Cam to watch the blackberries.  Something is eating them and we have company coming over tomorrow that wants to pick berries. I went out and set up the camera and now I am watching it a second time to see what I missed.  Tomorrow we will get our evening meal at the Fiesta.  Near as I know, no one that has ever eaten the fair food and said they didn't like it. 

Oh well, better move on smartly.  At least it isn't Honey Boo Boo.



Well, Would You?

If you could have a perfect world, would you want to know when you are going to die?  What would you do different if you could?  No, I am not contemplating my death, only looking for a good pithy theme for this post. 

I look back over my life and wonder what if a lot?  In the long run, I am pretty sure that the outcome is pretty darned good and not much could/would change that.  Well, that one period in 1968 in Vietnam could have had a big impact but fortunately it didn't. 

Some major events that had a pretty big impact on my life are:  (In no particular order of importance)
  • I think the women in my life that I have loved had a pretty profound effect on my life.  If there is a man that didn't have a special bond with his mother, I feel sorry for them both.  The girl friends I had while maturing showed me in ways that the emotion and hormones do have a short term effect but the lasting impact is fleeting.  My wife of 45 years has been there in my corner all the way and supporting a mutual vision of the future has been the way for me to go. There are times I wish she would open up and share more but I am darned lucky to have her as the rock I have built on.  Could it be that the Law of Unintended Consequences might kick in and bite me if she did?
    My first Girl Friend, Lollie
  • I am not sure what I could /would have done different about my education.  Short of having the coping mechanisms I developed later on in life I'm not sure that I was capable of doing more.  My salvation was reading.  I learned to read long before I went to school and just devoured books throughout my entire schooling.  I think I survived the educational system because it was not flexible enough to deal with me.  I do know that the socialization of school was a good thing but I was capable of so much more than was expected. I do know that our goal of graduating from College was one mutual goal Barb and I had and we worked hard to make that happen as near to debt free as we could.  We took it a little slower than some but over time it worked out for us.  A degree from KU was one goal that made a lot of the roads easier.
  • What parent would not say that the birth of their children had a major impact.  They will make you smile, cry, be proud, disappointed and foster the full range of emotions.  Having one son, I can say safely that I have a favorite child.  There are times that Barb will have to chide me that who else do I have to share my wealth with?  In the long run, everything I have will be theirs to work with.  I am not giving up, but I am sure that Barb will probably outlive me by years.  Dave probably will outlive her.  I love them both and wish them nothing but the best.
    My Favorite Son,  Dave
  • As much as it endangered my life, I have to say that the Military had a profound effect on my life.  I found that in Basic Training, I could focus on the things right in front of me and by working hard and showing up, I could succeed.  In fact I was only 1/2 point from having a perfect 1000 points in Basic.  There was a young black soldier, Wendell Burden, (at least I think that was his name) that beat me by that 1/2 point.  He was a great soldier and I hope life brought him a super life.  I don't feel bad that he out pointed me.  The glory of my early service was having the chance to attend OCS.  There I learned the skill to be a good Field Artilleryman and that carried me through out my career.
    From Private to Colonel
  • I have to admit that my continued education post formal College had a great effect on me.  One of the best training classes was the Meeting Management course I took through the National Guard.  I learned how to plan for and conduct meetings in ways that worked.  It showed me that having even a poor plan and working that plan was a lot more effective than having a great plan and then not working that plan. A lot of white wash goes on to make what an organization does look good.  I saw early that the results are and should remain the focus.  My only failure in that area was to not help our organization find a way to implement Total Quality Management in a way that was good for the organization.  In a lot of ways we threw out the rules like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  I guess I didn't have a good vision of what we were doing and that was the fault of a lot of people but mostly my failure.
  • I do know that ownership of houses led us down the path to saving and growth in our net worth.  We started with a house in Lansing, Kansas.  In our recent life, we never lost a dollar owning houses.  We have been able to grow the value of our houses and at least half of our life estate is based on real estate.  I hope this trend stays the course, I will.
  • One critical choice for our long term happiness has been our choice of careers.  As a teacher, Barb choose the path of Special Education to be there at the point of the spear in making her kids better.  She worked many extra hours to  make the system work for those special kids.  I'm sure that her love and concern was a big part of the success she saw over the years. I think that joining the national Guard on a part time basis in 1972 was the start of putting my life back on the right track.  It was a good foundation to help us pay for my education.  I do wonder what it would have been like to have more time with my family.  With that said, the retirement at age 60 has cut off any thoughts of it not being worthwhile. 
  • In the area of quality of life, one major break over  point for me was the realization that in most cases there is enough for everyone.  Cheering for others and being glad of their success is a lot more fulfilling than feeling bad that I didn't win every time.  There has been enough success for every one of us and for that, I am glad. 
  • OK, finding the smile that riding a bike puts in my heart has had a major impact on my retired life.  He probably hates it when I say it, but my brother-in-law, Kenny, planted that seed and helped it grow into a major smile.   I would have spent a lot of time without knowing how much I enjoyed riding had he not been there with his bike and skills to put me on one.

Getting back to the beginning, I have lived a darned good life Have you?  If you could/should do it again, what would you do?  The same?  Different?  Is it a moot point for me to wonder such madness?



Is it Saturday Already?

When a holiday falls during the week, the trash service is generally delayed by a day and today's the day.  I woke up early and loaded the trash can and recycle container in the scoop on the tractor and made a run out to the court with them.  If the container were empty I would probably roll it out but half full, it is just too rocky and far to do it by hand.  Besides, I have this neat tractor to use and there is just no reason to not use my tools.  I sure hope the neighbors up on the court appreciate that I went as slow and quiet as the diesel would go.  Still sounds like a bunch of mud clods hitting the bottom of the bucket.  Oh well.

We are nearing a time when I get to do some fun things and I am kind of stressing that I have a few things I want to get done before the end of July.  I hate it that I am more of a stern taskmaster than any boss I ever had.  I know that Barb is concerned when I come in dragging my butt and am all dirty.  It might be the laundry that concerns her but at least most of it will "Come out in the Wash."  She did say that I could get more dirty than anyone she knows.  Us old people have to sit down when we are in one place long and lean on things when we aren't sitting. 

Yesterday I cleared out the path of trees that would obstruct the tractor when I drag out the parts car.  I have been on a clean up campaign this year and I have hauled off three or four truckloads of scrap metal.  There is still a lot of junk in the ravine up by the west end of the property but I will need to cut down a few trees to get in there with the tractor.  I might even have to cut a road in to part of it.  At least that is my goal.

The other day someone talked about their vision for life.  My contention is that a vision is an end state and does not need to be all encompassing.  I also told a friend and new family member that unless you show up in work clothes now and then and start work on your vision, they are just day dreams.  Some people are happy with day dreams but most of the mission driven Ex-Military Guys want to every once in a while have proof of a positive end state.  For me, seeing a truck of junk leave Rabbit Run is just fine until the next time.   For me, it is kind of like a small head ache and removal of things is kind of like an aspirin.  Then the next time I start to see the piles, it is time to do something about it.

When we bought the 18 Acres, there was a dump site where someone threw a bunch of plastic paint buckets.  The good news is that 9 months out of the year the foliage cover it and it is not visible.  The other times it is not in a place I can get to easily so the cycle has gone on for 23 years.  I kind of promised myself that when I got a tractor I would do something about it.  Well, now I want to wait until the snakes have gone back into hibernation.  Now, doesn't that sound like a good excuse?  This fall will be a good time for that.

Barb and I have been able to take our bikes out a couple times this past week.  The path over by the Brown vs. Board of Education site is nice and straight north to south for at least four miles each way. There hasn't been much foot traffic so we try to go there on days when the Lake is busy.  If you are a Mom out trying to get back in shape, try to not walk two or three strollers abreast. I understand you want to talk but have some consideration for others.  This especially applies if you have one in the stroller, one on the ground and a dog on one of those retractable leashes.  Just because the dog can get up to 25 feet away from you, doesn't mean that it has to be unless you are paying attention.  Little dogs like to chase bikes and I really hope I don't ever hit one.  At least once each time I ride I have to remind someone to "reel him in" to get the dog from being on one side of the walk and them on the other. 

Have I reminded you to find a hobby that makes you smile and get out there and do it?  For me, I love the tractors I have as toys here at Rabbit Run but nothing puts a smile in my heart like riding my recumbent bike at the lake.  Gliding on the path is just a blast.  I can go at least 6 miles without my legs even feeling it.  At about 8 miles I start to feel it when I get off the bike but one of these days I am going to push it and see if I am good for 10 miles.  Nice goal but who knows?

Better get on  with my day.  Have fun out there.



What Does it Mean?

For years, I have said that there has not been a period where peace broke out spontaneously without a war to initiate the event.  Is Egypt's overthrow of the Government by the Military mean that I will have to reshape my thoughts?  I in my simple way hope that this is the beginning of the end of wars but only time will tell. 

For those of you that have never experienced combat, I will tell you that mostly it is hours and hours of doing a job that few would choose.  Throw in moments of sheer terror and you have war boiled down to it's essence.  It is not a glorious adventure, it is simply terror mixed in with boredom.  As on of my friends said, "It is a Damned Good Way to get Killed!"  There is just no way to explain how lethal the modern battlefield has become.  Because we have become more and more expert at saving lives after wounding soldiers, we have witnessed an amplification of the ways to kill.  If shooting people at close range wasn't bad enough, we now have snipers using .50 caliber  sniper rifles and killing people at distances of up to a mile.  There are precision bombs that can be flown into a window from several thousand feet up in the air.  Sheesh. 

At least I think we have progressed from the point where Commanders were willing to trade men for space.  We now have maneuver and amplification of the lethality through firepower.  I can't imagine standing in a formation and firing at another formation of men across an open field.  Picket's Charge at Gettysburg was an all time record of the folly of such formations.  General Picket was told upon his return to the Confederate Headquarters to move his brigade in behind the lines.  He replied,  "Sir I have no brigade."  He left his command scattered in the field before the lines of the Union Army.  They converged on a strong point until there was nothing left to charge with. 

I will attempt to return to the positive note of the opening of this post.   I have almost nothing to not be happy and proud of this 4th of July.  I have my good health, enough wealth to sustain a good life style and the love of my family.  In fact, we have lots of things going on and places to be.  The really good thing is for July, we have great weather here in the heartland.  It was almost cool when I went out to fetch the paper this AM.  It will be only in the mid 80's today.  It seems almost a shame to take the day off from working on my rental houses.   But I will live with the break. 

Oh well, better cut this off here and move on. 



4th of July

At least once a year I try to celebrate what my country means to me.  What a great holiday to do just that.  I won't celebrate with fireworks much anymore but I will try to provide an explosion of the pride I have in my country.  

Even with a few wrinkles and blemishes, America has a lot going for it.  If you doubt that, just try to count the number of people that want to come here illegally.  There is a number somewhere between 11 and 30 million undocumented Mexicans trying to make enough money to survive and send home some money so their families can live.  I don't completely oppose amnesty, but feel that it is a lot like what people say they don't like about Wal-Mart.  Amnesty allows everyone to come here and normal immigration laws selects the best and brightest to come here.  The illegals currently are working for low wages and exist not prosper.  Next time you see a roofing crew, look at what they wear for shoes and clothes. 

One of the big failures I see is that there are a lot of people that see equal opportunity and want equal outcomes.  If someone else didn't get a college education and didn't work two jobs most of their lives, why should they have the same benefits that I have.  Is am fond of seeing equal opportunity as a starting place and I tell everyone to get in line.  Just don't expect to finish the race in first place with half an effort or after using drugs.  Sometimes you have to work hard to make it in this world.  Visions are just dreams unless you show up in work clothes most of the time.

With that said, I have found that over my lifetime that if I showed up to work sober and worked hard, I could often outdistance my fellow workers.  I read that if you dress like your boss does it helps and I found most times neat and clean  works for me. 

Believe it or not, I always found a good sense of humor carried me a long way.  I love to laugh and tell stories and often as not, I find the stupid things I did when I was younger meat for the jokes.   I do ask that people leave my mother and wife out of the stories because I have a crazy love for them.  I just can't smile as much when they are laughed at and I am such fair game.  I am just struck dumb about Paula Dean.  I said so many stupid and hurtful things 40 years ago and I know now that it could have been bad.  Today, I at least mutter when I say stupid things and try not to say them out loud. 

For the Political Correctness crowd, I offer the following expressions to use.  "Cheese and Crackers," works for loud noises.  "Shut the Front Door" for stupid things said by others and a simple smile for really offensive things works for me.    Often what you don't say is better than what you can say.  I wish you could all meet Barbara and her sense of what not to say.  I asked her today if she wanted to offer her choice of "Butt Naked or Buck Naked?"  She smiled and said simply "No."

In early August, I am going to visit Yellowstone, our first National Park.  It is one of the places I have always wanted to go and so far never worked it in to my places to see or be.  I will use it as one of the places that shows us how great the Geography and scenery can be.  I am excited to take my binoculars and camera there and see and capture all I can.  The wonder of Digital Photography is that you can see the glory of your pictures without the wait to see what develops.  I am always blown away with the pictures that Barb takes.  I will take pictures of hills and waterfalls and she will see the dragon flies on the rocks.  I see a herd of Buffalo and she will see the calf by its mother.  I am Macro and she is Micro in her vision. 

This month, I will help celebrate the 90th Birthday of two WWII Vets.  One is my Uncle who was a Pilot and the other is my Father-in-law who was a grunt.  I am proud of them both and fear that the men and women of the era are not going to around that much longer.  My Mom and Dad are both gone and I miss them. 




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Symbols of My Life.

In looking through the family photo albums I see myself in various stages of life and I was almost always wearing a hat.  If there is a picture of a kid with a cowboy hat and pistols, it is almost always me.  The one exception I found was when my cousin Paul Allen was wearing my hat and guns and someone took his picture.  I don't for the life of me know why I loved and still do love hats.

I know that what a person wears is not genetic, so it must be something about learned behavior.  I know that my wife would love to just throw away a bunch of the old ratty hats that I leave on the hall tree.  I just hope that she honors me by leaving them around. (Kind of like she does me)  It is kind of fun to see that on our trip to California, Barbara bought a hat and is looks like a clean version of my "Bush or Boonie" hat.  She doesn't sweat or get it as dirty as I do my old hats.  It had the words Junior Ranger on the hat band part.  I think there is a National park club called Junior rangers and we are certainly only Junior Rangers at heart, not age. 

We are having a real treat here at the start of July.  It got down into the 50's last night and only just going to break 80 today.  It is almost always near 90 or above by the 4th of July.  We have also had a couple of good rains this last month and you can see the corn growing in the nearby fields.  I would mention the grass needs mowing again but that is a given.  With the cooler days, I can do that in the early evening without being to sit inside by the fan. 

Yesterday I grilled some chicken and steak and I think the kids are going to come over for supper tonight.  If they had come over yesterday they could have just had grilled meats but tonight they will probably have Fajitas.  Either way, they will have some fantastic food.  I also took some of the Championship rub that Dan Craig gave me and put it on some thick cut bacon.  I smoked/grilled the bacon for 30 minutes and it is just yummy.  For some reason it didn't make the bacon crispy, but that could be because of the thick cut not undercooked bacon.  One thing I hate is that our Daughter-in-law won't like it because it is a combination of sweet and savory.  Other than that one minor quirk, she and I just about like the same stuff.  I am really on a see food diet.  I see food and I want to eat it.  I also kinda like the sea food too.

The other day, we had a family gathering and I found some Bush's beans at Sam's Club.  I put them in an aluminum pan and smoked them on the grill.  It was kind of hard to keep them from burning but the addition of the hickory smoke and slight thickening of them made them about my favorite beans.  Next time I go to Sam's Club, I will buy another 8 pack of the beans and report to you all the full name of the beans.  I didn't add anything to the beans but hickory smoke from the fire. I love me some beans.

I guess it must be time to get my tools together and go over to work on the siding at the rental house.  I don't ant to start too early so they can have a chance to sleep in a bit.  See you all on the flip flop.