Must We?

Today there was a Facebook story about the Super Max prisons and the pending law suit against their harsh treatment of those that worked their way there by moving down the ladder with bad behavior.  Let me start with the fact that I am more for justice than mercy and I lean towards the side of do the crime, do the time.

With that said, do we really need to have so many of our population in prison?   If we do, what is the problem that makes us that way.  Do we over promise and under deliver to our population?  Do we make the going so hard that the disenfranchised feel it is easier to make a living through crime?  Surely this is one of the major problems that I think our Government needs to look at near the top of the priority list.

One of the things that concerns me is the word rehabilitation.  Do we owe it to the prisoners and ourselves to spend money on those that are incarcerated for not obeying the laws the rest of us live by?  I would hope that there are ways to let them self educate so that rehabilitation starts where there is hope of it being real and that's inside the prisoners not some external force.

I read that the only true way to change behavior is through a Significant Emotional Experience (SEE).  Ask the Navy Seals if they had a change of attitude when they went through their training.  I can tell you that through the Officer Candidate School system of 26 weeks at Fort Sill's home for cannon cockers we all had some major changes made to our attitude.  I for one would probably go crazy if I was isolated from everyone and the few exchange of words.  I could survive if I was given enough to read, but without that, I would probably shrivel up and blow away.

How would I start to change the world and this problem?  I for one would help decide what it is we incarcerate people for and see if there isn't a way we can make money off it.  I hate that there are people that drink, smoke and do minor drugs to avoid the reality of life.  I for one self medicated my stress and it took a lot of work to realize that it was really easier to face the stress and stop drinking.  I consider myself a drunk, a sober drunk, but I am not an alcoholic because I don't attend those meetings.  I really understand the mentality that if one beer is good, a dozen is better.  Kind of the same thing with food.  If one burger is good, why not a dozen sliders with cheese and bacon.

I guess there is no perfect system anywhere.  One thing I do want is for the government to start understanding the why of the things they do and not just compound the problems by passing new laws to save us.   I think the laws of Unintended Consequence got us to the place we are.  If a little tax is good, a lot of tax is better.  If we start taxing more, we should have programs to start giving it back to the people.  Wrong direction in my mind.

Whatever happens, the last place I want people to see redress of their concerns is out in the streets like Baltimore.  I'll bet that less than 15 % of them voted in the last election and yet they yell that the Current Government doesn't reflect their attitudes and ideals. 



Short Story Made Long

There was a fairly good system a while back where the Active Army would send some of their soldiers to our camps to help us train and do some evaluations.  These Active Army guys or evaluators would spend days out with us but generally would go back to Motels for the night unless we were at their home stations and they would simple go back to their homes. 

One year we took a good part of the Brigade to Camp Ripley, Minnesota.  The state bird there is the mosquito.   They said that one landed at the airport and one of the fuel handlers put 30 gallons of JP4 in it before it took off.  They could drive you crazy if you didn't have enough DEET in your repellent.

Ripley is a great post for dismounted infantry training and not a bad Artillery post but we should have left the tanks at Fort Riley,  The post there in Minnesota just didn't like tank tread marks in their fields.  That kept them pretty much in fixed areas with established tank positions.  That doesn't even begin to cover the fact that the impact area at Ripley is so small that our tanks could not fire their main guns. 

Well, the tanks have a procedure where they get into a firing position and as soon as they fire, they move to an alternate position and get ready to fire.  In the real world, one of the places you don't want to be is behind a tank when they are shooting and moving.  One of the advisors pulled up behind a tank in position and started to get out to see how their training was going.  As it turned out, they fired the simulator on the front of the tank and started to move to a new position.  The jeep the evaluator was driving didn't even make a poor wheel chock and it was smashed flatter than a fliver. 

When the whole thing kind of died down, the investigating officer took a statement from the advisor.  His exact words were, "I honked the horn to stop them but they didn't stop."  Have you ever heard the toy horn on a jeep?  It sounds like what would come out of your mouth if you held your nose and said the word Jeep.  Imagine a tank motor revved up and how little of that sound would get through to the tank crew members. 

The only good thing was that at the time we were phasing out the jeep and we had about a hundred of them at the Cannibalization Point at Fort Riley.  A few rivets to move the ID plate to a non smashed jeep and the soldier that was driving the smashed up mess got off with almost no cost.  I'm sure that his words were written on enough reports that he was forever remembered for the line "I honked my horn..." 


Worn Out

Yesterday I tried my first attempt and getting out and doing something.  It has been a long three months since I have done any real work and it showed.  Last night I had to get up and take a pain pill twice to be able to sleep.  OK, you got me, my bladder warning light kept flashing and that's what caused me to be awake.  I don't know what your bladder warning light is like is like but mine is a light that flashes and sounds "PEE,  PEE,  PEE" until I empty my bladder.
But back to the start of this story,  I got the towed mower out and got it running in short order.  It did a good job but man is that ever slow.  I used it to trim and then got the finish mower and the big tractor out.  It goes pretty fast but for some reason the belt was slipping inside.  A short stop and I could see that mowing the small cedar trees last time destroyed the belt by tearing our a chunk of the rubber.  No adjustment available, new belt time.  Now I get to play that game all over again.   I have to pull the drive pulley housing off to get the new belt on.  That turns a 10 minute job into about an hour long one.  I only mowed about an hour total but you would think I had done a full day's Manual Labor.    

I guess the bloom's off the rose.  I need to go to KC Friday afternoon and then again early Saturday Morning.  I invited Barb to come along but she just wasn't interested.  She said that when I'm busy like that she feels like a fifth wheel.  SO, I just will go it alone.  I understand her feelings.  She went to a lot of training sessions in Wichita that I stayed home from. 

I met a new guy this Monday night.  He grew up in Dennison Kansas and moved back to Kansas from Hawaii.   Yes, that might seem kind of bad to you, but his family is here and his mother is in an assisted living home in Horton.  He will sing with the bass section and we will be glad to have another face for the crowd.   We really need some leads to carry out the main part of most songs.  That is something we will all work on this year.  We need to focus on membership and a lot less on building dollars for the war chest.  We will do a three month rotation of local churches to sing in place of their choir.  That is fairly good stuff but the members of the Choir are the people we need to recruit from.  Oh well,  That is a subject for another time.

I am getting real antsy to get the 57 Chevy out of the storage shed and drive it with the new carburetors hook up.   I left the battery in the car and it was deader than a doornail when I tried to start it yesterday.  Oh well, seems like one step forward and two back each time I try to get something working here at Rabbit Run.  New drive belt for the mower, Blades to sharpen on Dave's mower and a lot more...  

I used an old saying -"Dear as a Door nail" a little while back and wonder what else do I use that might not be as descriptive as I might want.  As kids, if we were just doing little of anything outside, my grandmother would call it piddling around.  I am sure that the boys did just go behind a tree to pee but I'm pretty sure the girls went inside.  We drive on the parkway and park on the drive way.  What wonderful and confusing language we have.  I guess it beats some of the Military Terms.  Instead of just saying dark, the Military would call it EENT, or evening ending nautical twilight.  The very first crack of light was called BEMT or Beginning Early Morning Twilight.  OK, I'll skip the word Jeep this time. 

Guess I'd better get on with the day.  I really do have an appointment to have the thyroid biopsy done. I have high hopes that it will be over quick and end with good results. 



Night in the Jungle

For the largest part of a year, I spent most of the nights sleeping on the ground in the jungle somewhere in Vietnam.  There is just no way to completely describe what that was like but her goes a short story about such a night in that place. 

As the sun goes down, the light just fades to black and man do I mean black. Your eyes try to adjust to let in enough light but there is just nothing there but darkness that swallows any light you could see.   Your senses kick in and if you are lucky, your imagination doesn't.  You begin to feel sweat running down your back and you hope it is just sweat.  You think about all the creepy crawlies you saw in the daylight and know there are a few thousand more things that live in the debris of the jungle floor that love to come out at night.  There is always that one mosquito that loves to buzz in or near your ear that is worthy of slapping if you could see where you are slapping.  Most of the time it is in the end a mild ringing in your ear after a hand slap that missed.  

I am not sure when I finally got to where I could sleep in the absolute darkness but I must have because failing to sleep is the quickest way to go mad that I know.   In most of the units I served with, I slept near the Company Commander and that put me in the rotation of a shift on the radio.  We would generally have one radio on the Company Command Frequency and one radio on the Battalion net.   Every 10 minutes we would make contact with the outposts and at least once an hour call the Command net.  

To make sure that the ambush patrols and outposts didn't have to talk we played a game of breaking squelch to acknowledge their presence.  The FM radios we had would mostly just make a hissing noise and when the guy at the far end of the net would push his radio handset button the hissing would stop and we called it breaking squelch.  That allowed them to acknowledge us with out telling a possible enemy they were out there.  No one knew who was really pushing the mike button.  I could be that one of the outposts did it all but that was not my problem.

That went on for the entire time we were out in the field.  It was a rare night when there were enough people that you could get one complete night's sleep uninterrupted.    Throw in the fact that most of our air mattresses had slow leaks that required blowing up two or three times a night and by a couple of weeks we were all somewhat sleep deprived. 

Did you ever sit around the campfire and tell ghost stories?   Well, every new guy got at least one session where they told the stories of the guy that went missing and they only found blood trails.  There be tigers out there and they were pretty good hunters.   Me, I was more afraid awakening to find a snake in my fart sack or bedroll.   At least with a tiger, you know what got you. 

One night, I was sound asleep when there was a bright light on the perimeter.  Something or someone had tripped one of the "Trip Flares" set up along the trail near an outpost.  You can't imagine how bright that little flare was in the absolute darkness.  If you looked at the flare with both eyes open, there was absolutely no way you could see anything in the dark for another hour or so.   That flare was followed by a boom.  No one was sure what that was.  It could have been a hand grenade or someone might have clicked of a claymore mine along the trail.  Those were our little defensive man killers that shot hundreds of lead shot out in an arc in an area that was in need of being defended.   Damn shortly after that explosion, there were several more trip flares tripped as the small band of guys that had been on the outpost came back into our perimeter.  One of them had a pretty serious cut on his hand and the word "Medic" was hollered.  I was looking outside the perimeter and trying to see if I needed to fire my Artillery out there somewhere in the dark.  I called the fire base and got the gun crew up and ready to fire. 

When the whole thing settled down, it seems that no one saw what set that trip flare off and without warning his friends, one of the FNG's (Fucking new Guys) threw a grenade.  The grenade threw a piece of shrapnel back at them and thus the wound.   The really bad part was that they left the radio and the machine gun out there in all that darkness.  I can't tell you just how mad the Commander was but I also can write the words here that would offend my readers.  Needless to say, the squad that these guys came from made a recon in force and went back out there in that black inky darkness.  They then had the duty to stay with the radio and the machine gun the rest of the night. 

What I can tell you is that if your body is filled with adrenalin from a surprise like that, sleep doesn't come easy or fast.   I am pretty sure that at first light I was up making my morning coffee.   You could smell the trioxine heating tabs all over the camp as steaming canteen cups of coffee and hot chocolate were being prepared.  We would have 100% of the Company awake at first light and at last light.  If we had been resupplied the day before, there was water enough to brush your teeth and seldom water to even wash your face.  I don't know how we ever got used to the smell of each other but somehow we did.   It was a rare occasion when the company hit a river big enough to give everyone a chance to wash some of the stink off.   

When we did hit a blue line on the map that was big enough, we would start rotating one platoon to the water at a time.  Most guys would just wade in uniform and all and try to wash them first.  The would find a convenient bush to dry the uniform out and than try to get the grime off their bodies.  I am sure we did this as often as we could but there was about 4 weeks tone time that we never found a good spot and our uniforms were as bad as we were.   The resupply helicopter finally brought out  bundles of uniforms and we threw the old stuff away.  I know that the helicopter pilots were glad for that.  

Enough of this stuff, things to do and places to go...


What Makes a Good (er, est) Writer

From time to time, I find a good book and read until that need passes.  The length of time it takes me to finish a book (if ever) is indicative of how good I find the writer.   As a young man I did find that I loved books that described things in pretty fine detail.  In fact after reading Dr several of the Russin writers, I   in turn went to see Dr Zhivago and found it so short and quick that I  have not watched it since.   Everyone tells me that the scenery is worth watching it for but I missed the development of the characters and the fine details of the book.   Yes, it would take a week to watch that book as a movie in that detail. 

On the boat ride to Vietnam, I had a copy of Michener's Hawaii.   I don't even know how long it took to finish that book but between the book and learning to play Cribbage, I managed to make that boat ride one that I could endure.  During that trip, I discovered that there was an Oceanographer on board and he was mapping the sea bed as we went west.  It was kind of fun to watch for small sections at a time but in the long haul it all looked like the same to me. 

Here lately I find that I have enjoyed WEB Griffin's Books as well as Clive Cussler's work.  I do find that after a while the man hero does wear a little thin and always being on the winning side is somewhat trite.  Not everyone is tall, slim handsome and gets the right girl.  I guess a little fantasy is good for the soul.

Many of the people near here got rained out when they needed to mow and now are so inundated with tall grass that a herd of goats wouldn't save them.  I may have to fire up the tractor and make a dash to Dave's to bail him out.  (get it?  Bail him out)  The real problem with that is that Barb has me on a restricted action plan until my body settles in with the Xerelto (Blood Thinner)  Right now I am on the 15mg of two pills a day and am about a week away from the 20mg once a day dose.  Perhaps then I might get released from the restrictive program.

Add'n Gravel to the drive

I am amazed that I didn't get feedback from yesterday's story.  It was kind of long but I thought the wait was worth the laugh.  I guess not. 

Moving on, there just has to be something I can do...



This is My story - And I'm sticking to it!

There is just no way I'm going to ever tell my story and be Denny 2.  Denny One will be hereafter called Ding-Ding and his brother will be called Ding.  The reason for the name is a dose of reality that often sneaks up on my subconscious.  The Ding brothers lived up the street from us and their father had mounted a ship's bell right outside of the front door of their house.  When Their mom wanted to have the older son come in, she would go to the bell and ring it one ding at a time slowly for a couple of minutes.  Ding,  Ding,  Ding would go the bell and he would be called home for some duty to perform.  If Denny 1 was needed (Yes, I did say I wouldn't call myself Denny 2 but some clarity is needed as this is my story) she would ring the bell Ding-Ding, Ding-Ding slowly and Denny 1 would run home.   If their mom went to the bell and just rang it ding after ding for a couple of minutes, everyone ran home. 

For some reason, I can't remember when the Ding's moved into the house just up the street.  What I do remember is that one day that corner lot started to get filled up with some of the most incredible junk.  Their father was a not a collector, just an accumulator.  One of the first things I remember is the old Chevy Cab over Pop truck that started the collection.  It never had any pop in it there next to their house but it was a great place to sit and play drive the truck all over town.  I don't remember ever having anyone tell us to "Get the hell out of there, and stay out." Must have been OK for us to drive that truck in our playing.  I don't have a clear memory of the truck being used for storage as the doors that slid up and down one the back were way too heavy for small kids to lift. 

Not long after the truck showed up, the place took on the look of a junk yard as large wooden shipping Containers began to show up.   I knew their Dad was a security Guard at Boeing and he loved to haunt the salvage/disposal yard nest to the plant.  There were wooden boxes of every size from one that maybe held a small electric motor to one the size of a shed.  God only knows what was in that as it came to Wichita from Seattle.  If you know that the plant there was in Kent or Renton, good for you.  All I know is that with a small alteration a large box became a storage shed for more stuff liberated from the bowels of the salvage yard.

The father, AL (Ding to protect the guilty) loved to hunt with his coon dogs.  He had a couple that were kept in a pen and fed a horrible concoction of Day old bread and eggs that had not passed the candle test.  It would almost gag a a maggot to see moldy bread get mixed with imperfect eggs with streaks and blobs of whatever in there.  There was always a bucket and a stick that was used to first mix the mess up and then fed to the dogs.  The dogs never tried to escape when there was food to be had.  They would just bark that bark they used when they had a coon on the run.  Then with their bellies filled to capacity, they would find a place to lie in the sun and digest that mess.  Those dogs were the best looking coon hounds I'd ever seen and never acted aggressive to people.

A couple of times when the hounds needed to get out and do some hunting, I would be invited to a late night run down on the Ninnesca River and the dogs would be let out of the truck and set to run after the scent of a coon or two.  In the summer when I would go with them, we would not kill the coons, only let the dogs chase them until they treed one. The boys would run after the dogs and listen to where they went.  It was always kind of fun to imagine where they would go nut it was easy to find them.  I did see a few fights where the coons would do something dumb and get caught but mostly the hunt would end with the dogs running around the base of a tree and our flashlights would spot the shinning eyes of a coon way up in the tree looking down at us as if they wanted the dogs to just shut up and go away.  The kids would drag the dogs back to the truck for the ride home.  I'm not sure what Al did other than drive the truck back and forth.  As I recall, he wasn't a drinker that just sat in the truck and drank.  There were a lot of drunks in my neighborhood so I would know a drunk if I smelled one

For some reason, the Dings had an old female cur show up and rather than chase her off or take her out on a hunt an leave her somewhere they let her stay.  She didn't seem to eat much and because of her ratty fur, no one paid much attention to her.  That all changed when she got the mange and large patches of her fur began to fall out and man did she ever start to stink and look bad.

My Dad a and I built a shed in our back yard that we built from an old half of a barn we tore down at his mother's.  It turned out to be a pretty nice shed and only a part of this story.  Dad bought a bundle of shingles  for the roof of his shed and somewhere a big pot of roofing tar showed up.  Dad took that tar and some cut up shingles and made a roof cap right down the middle of the roof.  It worked well but while he was doing it he had some of that tar drip in his hair.  He produced a can of "Coal Oil"  and he used it to get the tar out.   I can remember that he made quite a deal about that stuff curing his dandruff.  Back then he just used a soap bar to wash his hair and he was always flaking dandruff on his shirt. 

One day I mentioned to Ding-Ding that coal oil seemed to really do the trick in curing Dad's dandruff. What a novel idea, would it cure mange on an old dog?  Not being the brightest bulbs in the pack, experimentation seemed to be in order.  If coal oil would do good things, perhaps gasoline would do a better job.  Ding-Ding got a small tin can full of gasoline and poured it on that poor old unsuspecting dog's bald places.  It was as if the hounds of hell broke loose and she commenced to bark, snarl and run in circles.  Thank god there was a big old box there in the yard for us to climb up on.  We escaped the barking biting and soon foaming at the mouth.  She ran around that box for what seemed like forever.  We were trapped there like one of those coons we would find up in the tree. 

After about 10 minutes or so, that old dog just laid down and seemed to fall asleep.  I asked Ding-Ding if he thought we had killed her.  He said,  "Nah, she just ran out of gas."

Now that's my story and I'm sticking to it.



The Campaign Trials and Tribulations

I read about the problems in America and yet when someone tries to talk about the role of Government in our lives, they are criticized for bringing up the subject.  Is the problem so big that we have to treat it like the elephant in the room and not even look at it in the light of day?   Is our problem the problem?

One of the topics out there is the fact that the poor are so poor and the rich are way to danged rich.  Is it the Government's role to try to adjust the reality of today in that area?  I contend that there is a need for Government to help the really needy but income redistribution might be a bridge to far.  We all read Animal Farm and the impact on all animals being equal as to their needs with some being more equal.  This leads me back to the point I have made several times that we do have the need to have equal opportunity not equal outcomes.  We need to provide the best schools we can and give everyone a chance at the start of the race but not award the losers more because that didn't win.  I can remember that everyone got a participation ribbon for little league but did it mean as much as the trophy for winning the league tournament?  Don't think so.

This past week Governor Christy openly talked about the "Needs Testing" he feels should be a part of the Social Security Program.  Once you make more than $80,000 you should have your benefits decline to the point that at $180,000 they go away.  Does that mean that everyone should have their Government Retirements be scrutinized and at some point eliminated based on a perceived need?   Does the ant who worked hard all it's life and provided a basis for retirement get penalized for that sacrifice?  Does the cricket that played through life get rewarded for not doing so? 

I don't think Governor Christy has the entire answer, but he at least drug the question out in the open and started the conversation.  What other things do we need to talk about?  Control of the border, Drugs, infrastructure are all out there hiding in plain sight.

The role of Government is variable as to where you are on the scale of life.   There is a basic need for Government to provide for basic needs of Defense, Law and Order, Fire Protection and support for the really needy.   Where you are will drive the need for Housing and food.  I would provide the best education we can afford to all students and let them go from there.  Where the end goal is a part of the problem and a good place for the discussion to start.

Today, I read that again the influence of the Koch brothers was mentioned.   I ask you, just how many dollars would it take to buy your vote?  Can you be swayed like advertising for corn flakes to eat one brand over the other?  I don't feel that way but I understand that you might.   How many people would get out and vote if they felt it would really make a difference?   If not, why not?  Are you so willing to let my vote count more than your non vote?  Then again, why?  

I am afraid that we are more willing to make the election a popularity race for the pretty and rich rather than a time we really discuss the problems.  Do the Democrats just want to give money to the poor?  Do the Republicans just want to give more to the rich?  If trickle down doesn't work, why are we trying to flush the problems away with a Federal budget that is about 71% of the outgo going to people and their programs? 

At one time, I tried to look at the assets in my life and build some form of pride in them.  I am now told that my hard work should not be passed on to my children without the Government getting a good lick at those dollars.  Am I bad because I have ideals and thoughts of better for them than the Government?  Would you bet that I would find a way to get them on the pass through to my future generations if I could.  Does that make me the bad guy?  Aren't the loop holes in out tax system just simple ways for people to pass on their money.  Surely you don't think that I have money so I can eat it all? 

Oh well, enough of this and moving on to the real things.  I am having interesting discussions with people in the family that have over time had the same medical problems I have.   One Niece told me about her procedure that was described by the doctor was the way it was done in the past.   They discovered a nodule and removed half of the thyroid.  It was inspected a slice at a time in the operating room and when it was not malignant, they let her keep half of the thyroid.  She has normal thyroid levels with half of the gland. She now suffers not from the procedure.  Oh well, one down and another cousin to talk to. 



The Truth and the Whole Truth

I saw my family doctor early this week and he scheduled me for a follow up visit with the endocrinologist (Thyroid Doctor)  When I was called from that office the nurse said that not only did I have a visit scheduled for today they wanted to do another Biopsy late in the Month.  Somewhere in all this, I don't think I have been given the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  To make that even more scary, I have been given an appointment for another stress test on my heart.  For someone who has gone months in pretty good shape, I wonder why all of a sudden I am being tested, retested and follow up tested.  If this is no big deal, what the heck is up with all these tests?

Oh well, enough of that.  Moving on to the Trials and tribulations of the Clinton Family.  Anyone that has followed their affairs know that if it is a shady lady involved, it is probably Bill's doing.  If it is walking the fine line of Lawyers working the edge of right and wrong it is Hillary.  When Hillary tells us that there is too much separation between the rich and the poor, I hope someone points out that Bill has made over 100 million giving speeches in the last couple of years.  I wonder how many entire school districts could have been run with that kind of money.  Is it possible that someone that has made that kind of money could entertain the needs of the really poor?  I doubt it.

The latest thing is that the Clinton Foundation has been the recipient of many questionable donations or gifts and Hillary's staff claims there is no relation between the gifts and her actions.  In the street vernacular, if it walks like a duck, look for a pond nearby.

One the other end of the stick, I have my doubts that there are any of the candidates that are walking and talking the right stuff in the coming election.  Just once (besides Christy of New jersey) I would love to see a candidate stand up and point out that we are on the path of destruction and propose some alternate routes to success. 

Clearly, our Government has gotten so large that we have as many people getting money as there is money coming into the Government by taxes.  We have to borrow so much money that it is not funny and last time I looked that is no way to run the railroad.    We have to increase taxes or cut money going out.  Increasing the number of people coming here that need our support is clearly not the way to balance the books.   Not to mention the amount of drugs those people are smuggling across the border.   Yes, I will freely admit that the drug problem is ours in that if we didn't use them, there would be no need for them to come across the border. 

As I think back, a couple of weeks prior to going into the hospital, I was on a 10 day series of antibiotics.  Since then, my guts have not worked well.  I wonder if I need to re-establish the good bacteria in there to get everything normal.  It sure isn't doing well right now.    I bought some Activia and I'll see if Jamie Curtis is to be believed.  She sure makes a credible commercial.  The black cherry Yogurt isn't bad either.

I had good intentions about trying to do a little mowing today just to get used to the work.  It rained last night so that is a bridge too far for today.  I may see if I can rent the nephew of Barb's something this weekend. 

Better close and get on the stick.




I know that I have discussed that your perception of what is happening in your life is your reality.  It is not my place to try to tell you what to do and I know that my own strong will often gets in the way of my doing the right thing first and always. 

I do hope that by being older, I have more things to reference when I make up my mind.  I hope that I can have watched the good, the bad and ugly things in my life and will make fewer mistakes.  The problem with that is I see a lot of my older friends and relatives just get more stubborn as they lose control of the things they really can do.  If I can't control the things I can do, perhaps exerting my will over the things I say can give me the edge in life I am missing.  (NOT) Makes me wonder if this blog suffers from that a little bit?

One thing I am really trying to do is to soften my approach in what I say to my family on Facebook.  In fact I deleted several of them from my daily routine because of the fact I can't seem to stay out of the conversation when it doesn't go my way or the way I think it should go.

There seems to be several themes that I really feel strong about and mostly because I have learned the lessons the hard way I feel like butting in with my two cents.  First of all dear ones, Life isn't fair.  When you play poker, you often are dealt a few bad hands.  Deal with people and every once in a while there will be a few people that just don't like you as much as you think they should. That includes family with a capital F.  Not everything you do is worthy of a paragraph on Facebook every time it happens. The exception is when the text is accompanied with pictures of cute babies or dogs.  There have been times when I went home with a bloody nose - and deserved it.   Not always mind you but sometimes.

The Master Gardener and I just had an interesting discussion at breakfast.  She went all out and fixed me an omelet, sliced fruit and toast.   The kind of grub that you serve sick people that have been losing weight.  We discussed that I am feeling a little limited by the fact that I tend to overdo and hurt myself when I do.  Taking a medicine like Xerelto, makes any dangerous activity even life threatening.  I need to look around at the people that need work and start hiring some things done. 

Last year near the end of summer, I tried to hire a concrete guy to fix the pad in front of the garage.  A guy said he could get it done prior to the first freeze but I had nothing in writing and only a verbal estimate.   Now I don't have a good ability to even know who it was I talked to.  Not being a pack rat with paper, I am going to have to start that search all over again.  

I guess what I really need to do is get this finished and get some of the things I really can do done.  The telephone is not too dangerous for me to handle.  I need to get the oil changed on the Ford and pick up some more mulch on the other side of town.  Throw in getting my 5 gal can of diesel filled and I can probably spend most of this morning.  Better get cranking

I don't mean to try to tell you how to run your life, but I do hope that I have helped you understand that the hard feelings you have are your own and sometimes I didn't cause them.  Go sit in the sun some today and enjoy the spring like weather.  It will be hot enough soon enough.



Resting up from Resting Up

For the better part of a week since my release from the Hospital, I feel like I am better today than I was yesterday.  I wonder if I can make it to the afternoon nap time without a short nap on the couch.  If I would be forced to tell you about my energy level, I needed to rest up from resting up.  I am now able to formulate plans to do something even if I am not able to carry them out completely.   We'll see how long this energy burst lasts.

The weather here in the Heartland is really variable.  One day it will be warm and then downright cold overnight.  I know that I am running a degree or two of a temperature while my body tries its best to clear up the pulmonary embolisms.  Those pesky white blood cells run around and create internal heat while they do their job.  Not enough to be dangerous, just slightly concerning.

Yesterday I got on the scales here at home at 242 down from 268.  That is the magic 20 lbs. that I had stored up in case I got really sick.  I just hope I don't need them in the near future.  Barb says I have another 20 Lbs. just in case.   If I lose them, I will need to go out in the garage and poke a whole new set of holes in my belts.  Oh well, small price to pay.

My Doctor gave me kind of a mixed message when we talked about  this last episode in the mysterious case of "What Ails Me."  The hospitalist told me that I would need to be on a 15 mg dose twice a day for three weeks and then a 20mg dose of Xerelto for 90 days.   My family doctor told me that he recommends at least 180 days and perhaps more than that.   As often as I injure myself doing work on my projects I don't want to be in fear of a small cut.  I know that there is not a real good protection against bleeding when I am on Xerelto, but I figure that ice and compression will take care of most of what ails me.  Heck Barb runs around with more bruises from gardening than I ever have.  Yes, I know she hasn't had to go to the Hospital either.

 Today is the birthday of my brother, Rick.  I sure hope he has a great day.    He is the last of the Petty Kids to still be working and I hope he can reach that retirement milestone one of these days.  I know a lot of people wonder what they will do when they retire.  I promise you that you will soon wonder how you got it all done when you worked.  If you finds a half of a hobby you can soon spend more time than you have energy.  For me, the outlet of singing is just the ticket. 

Oh well, better get finished here while I still have a little energy left. 



Grizeldis, Grizzy or Grissy?

A few years back my brother-in-law had a male Dachshund, that left a hole in his life when he passed on.  I had the opportunity to get a female long haired dachshund that I gave him.  I had a friend that was born in Germany and I named the cute little female after her.  Griseldis, Grizzy or Grissy the name was not nearly as important as the love that the dog and my brother-in-law brought to the relationship. 

Grissy was  a breeder dog in a kennel here in Kansas and the State took her away from the breeder.  There were about 45 such dogs that were put in the Lawrence and Topeka shelters.  I worked with the State to find out how soon they would be available and darned near missed out on my chance to get her.  I was told that Lawrence had the last two dogs and if I hurried over I might get one.  When I arrived at the shelter, the person working told me that there was a cream colored female and a black and tan female left.   He said the black and Tan female was scheduled to be put down as she tried to bite when one of the kids tried to pick her up. 

I reached into the cage and saw that Grissy tried to push my hand away with her nose but had no intent to bite.  In my calm assertive way I just talked calmly to her and picked her up,  Once she saw that I was not going to do any harm, she licked my hand.  I filled out the paper work and paid the fee and was told that the next day she would be at the vet being spayed and I could pick her up after 4.  

Well, when I arrived at 4, I was appalled to see that she was in a concrete pen with no bedding and cared half out of her wits.   I put her in the carrier I had with plenty of blankets and took her out of the noisy shelter.   I brought her home to Rabbit Run and left her in our solarium where there was food, water and papers to go on.  I left her in the kennel but the door was open. 

For a couple of days she was never out of the carrier when anyone was near.  I could tell that she was eating and using the newspapers I spread out on the floor.  I decided that I would try to just be there to help her know that I was a friend.  She let me pet her inside the carrier but did not try to come out.  I gently pulled the blanket she was laying on out a little bit and finally she was moved clear out of the carrier.  During this entire time, I used a clam voice and plenty of petting and ear scratching.  She was not abused by her pervious life, she was more neglected and probably did not have regular petting. 

I finally got her out of the cage with little coaxing and got her to lay across my lap.  As I sat there and petted her, I continued to talk in a low and calm voice.  One afternoon, as she laid there, I gently touched her tail and said that real dogs would wag such a beautiful tail.  She started wagging it and from then on she was a real lap dog with a wagging tail.  She got much better and would follow me around the house.  We worked hard on the toilet training and it was more a matter of me taking her out on a regular basis.  

Things went well for about a week, and one day Grissy and I were downstairs when Barbara came home from work.  I had never really seen her bark at anything but for some reason, Barbara was an intruder and Grissy did not like it one bit.   Once she calmed down, she would let Barb pet her but never was really Barb's friend.  I wonder if the person that had the kennel had girls working the dogs?

I took a road trip to Idaho to give the dog to my brother-in-law.  It almost broke my heart to give her up.  I could tell that her new owner was kind of sick when it came time to leave so I slipped out the back door and departed.  This next part was his story and I am only reporting it as I remember it.  He said he laid down on the couch and Grissy did not get next to him as she would do with me.   He said he fell asleep and when he woke up Grissy was from then on his friend.  

Griseldis, Grizzy or Grissy is at the Vet's right now suffering from some kind of a spinal problem.  I know she has had a great life and I hope she recovers.   Either way, I hope that everyone has a dog somewhere in their life that brings joy to them.  This has been a story about one such dog.
How could you not love that face?



Pay It Forward

In the style of the Movie, Pay it forward, I would encourage each of you to do your best to get way ahead on the side of thanking people for doing a good job.  There is so much that we see that is good and we just don't share it with the people we see doing the right thing. 

Just this weekend I listened to a five minute diatribe about a person that is young and doesn't pull their weight in life.  I really wanted to ask the story teller if they were a part of the solution of part of the problem.  A quick hint that what they didn't do was important to you and then a little praise when they correct the behavior would go a long way.  The really sad part of the story was that the person that didn't do the right thing is someone that is not in my life and I probably will never meet them.

Is the poor performance of a crazy friend their fault.  Am I crazy to be upset by their behavior when I know they are certified crazy.  I think I read that doing the same thing and expecting different outcomes is the crazy part.   I hope to change the things I might but don't expect me to change the things you know are not going to change.  I don't have high hopes that the world will change soon, but I will always keep trying.

Have you heard the starfish story?  There was a guy on the beach throwing the stranded star fish back out in the water.  Someone asked him what he was doing.  he said he was saving the stranded starfish.  The observer said silly person, you can't save all of them.  He replied "At least I am saving these today!"


Doing the Best I Can

After two shows on Saturday and a sing out at the lake yesterday, I came home and crashed.  I didn't burn until nightfall but I did have to take a pretty good couch nap and then a good nights sleep.  I am not sure if it is the recovery from the Pulmonary Thrombosis or just a couple of months of just not doing great things.  The bad news is there was a lot of people here at the house and I didn't do my fair share to help Barb.  The good news is that even with a fairly large quartet at the lake we sounded good. 

In the spirit of recognizing someone that has done a wonderful job, I am trying to think up a way to recognize the Barbershopper that put together the 69th Annual Show.  I know that a lot of other guys helped and did their pat but knowing all the details and keeping things coordinated sure made the show great.  A couple of minor changes by the music committee made the second show much better than the first. The first show was better than last years show by a bunch.  I'll keep you posted on what it is I find to recognize him.

The other day in the store I saw a lady that was treating her granddaughter the way I think all parents should treat their kids.  She always had an approving tone in her voice and called her love.  "Stand here next to me, Love."  And the little girl did.  I went so far as to tell her that I loved her manner with that child.  I don't know how many mothers I've seen that threaten to beat their ass and jerk their kids  around by their arms. 

I will get a chance to visit with my doctor today and see what he thinks about my prognosis and just how long I'll suffer from the after effects.  I sure hope he has good news, lord only knows there was about every kind of test run on me. 

I am sure looking forward to getting the 57 Chevy out of the shed soon and putting it to good use.  It isn't doing me or it any good just resting there.   I do have a ballpark number if I decide to sell it.   Either way I'm going to do better about getting it out this year. 

Oh well, gotta go rest up from resting up!



Annual Show

Yesterday we had a 2 and 7 PM show for the Barbershop Chorus.  In spite of not really being up to snuff I sang any way.  The first half of the first show was a little rougher than I wanted it to be but at Half Time we adjusted our play and it went much better.  I think the 7 PM show was a winner all the way around.  The guest quartets were worth the price of admission.  The semi-Pro quartet "Boom Town"  sure set a high standard.  The local girls and boys quartets from Washburn Rural were at their best too.  I  am really looking forward to hearing the CD of the evening show on Monday night. I am going to do my best to borrow the CD and make a copy. 

Our Chorus is getting better by the day and I hope we can compete in a couple for years for the best chapter Chorus. 

Barbara is watching me like a mother hen.  She won't let me out of her sight and go play with the toys.  I really need to mow and it will be an interesting contest to see who wins that battle.  I would love to have a day laborer for a couple of weeks to catch up on some maintenance. 

For some reason beyond my complete understanding the Chorus agreed to sing again today at Lake Shawnee.  I will try to get ready and go if we don't get rained out. 

I better get to resting up from resting up.



Dang Near Lost a Day

Yesterday I got up early and was preparing to take the trash cans out to the curb.  The wife asked what I was doing and I told her it was trash day.  Well, sitting around the house hasn't done much for my memory.  Our trash day is Friday and I was a day early.  Dang I hate it when that happens.

Our 'nother daughter is here visiting from Austin, TX.  She has two dogs and it is always fun for me to have them visit.  Our "dog less" abode can always use the excitement.   One of the two dogs is  deaf and she has no concept of how loud she barks.  The other dog is about the nicest dog you could want.  He will bark when the deaf one barks but is easily quieted.  He likes to be given attention but a little goes a long way. 

Our visitor has a new Chevy Volt.  She claims it gets at least 40 MPG on trips and way more when she has a plug in and stays around town.  I am going to try to get her to let me drive it s little today just to see what kind of guts it has.  One of these days we will probably have enough miles and need to replace the Crown Vic.

One worry that I now have is the threat of blood clots forming on long trips.  I sure the heck don't want a repeat of what I just went through.  I figure that for every hour behind the wheel I will need to spend at least 10 minutes walking.  That is not a big deal as both Barb and I love to take short walks in far away places.  She has one of those Fit Bits and tries to get in 10,000 steps a day.  Not sure how that will work when we start riding the bikes again.

Dave and his wife Barbara came over for dinner yesterday. I got him to help me knock down the "dead man" tree branch that was hanging over the deck.  It was about 300 lbs. of  dead tree that would have knocked the heck out of anyone that was near when it fell.  That was a worry that I no longer have.  Now, I want to mount the mower and clean up the place.  I guess I'll just have to talk to the doctor Monday and see what he thinks.  It may be a good time to get a new mower for the rental property and see how it runs. 

To me, it is amazing how inter twined our lives are. A few years back, I sang in the Barbershop Chorus with Jeff Kready who is now on Broadway.  When I mentioned him coming back to Topeka for a performance, my sister said she taught him in Junior High and he invited her to his senior recital at Washburn University.    I looked in today's paper to see if his show made the entertainment page and it sure enough mentioned him and the fact that his grandfather will be one of the Masters of Ceremony for our show tomorrow.  I mentioned it to Mel and she said that he mother did some plays at Washburn with him and she had been invited to take pictures of the play. 

Today I will listen to all the songs for tomorrow and  I just am loving the lead off song Happy Together.  I sure hope I have enough energy to continue singing after singing that song  It is a great song but the aggressive bass section is very aggressive and On a good day it take most of my stamina to sing it.  Our first and last song will feature the Bass section at its best and most of what is in between is just great songs.  After much encouragement, our director threw in his rendition of the State Song, Home on the Range.  It is a very lovely song with the bass singing a section of the song as leads and it just rocks. 

Oh well, better get this show on the road.




I would tell you I'm getting better, If I could Tell.

One time I was discussing my medications with my Doctor and he asked me how it was going with my current medications.  I told him that the only time I could tell was when I forgot to take it.  He told me that is exactly what they are aiming at.  That is a lot like I feel right now.  I am on a blood thinner Xerelto and I can't feel the effects at all.  What I can tell is that every day I feel a little better and am returning to normal - What ever the Hell Normal is. 

I have to tell myself that this is one of those times I need to find courage, bravery and intelligence.  I do need to have the courage to get up now and then and do something.  I want to control my bravery so I don't hurt anything and it helps if I can find the intelligence to know when to apply each.   A good example is that there is a broken branch that I would describe as a dead man hanging in a tree right outside the dinning room door.  I even hauled my rope up to hook it to the tree and help the branch fall.  My better half told me to get away from there and leave it to fall where it might.  Great advice but not what I would have done a short couple of months ago.  Dang, I hate to get old.

I called my brother in Oklahoma the other day and told him about this little adventure that put me in the hospital for a week,  He said that just the day before he told one of his co-workers that I was still out driving the tractor and doing all the mowing.  Sure wish I was up to that.  Not today.

Brothers MUD and Rick
Just how much trouble can I get into with a tractor? Lots!
My mother for years had an irregular heart beat and was on warfarin.  For a long while I would have to take her into the Lab and have weekly tests run to see how it was doing.  Now, I am on Xerelto and there is no lab test needed.  I guess the newer medicine is pretty darned good, But I can't tell.  Kind of like the blood clots in the lungs, it was not the disease that I could tell, but the symptoms.  I guess I'll find out Monday when I go to see my Doctor.   The Health Care system has notified me that the results of all the tests are available on line but then doesn't tell me squat about the results.  Oh well, Monday.

Mom and her brother in the Good Old Days

Here is a few of the lesser known facts that I have read this week.  Of the total income to our government, 71% goes to pay entitlements.  That is about the amount they really take in and it as to borrow the rest.  Somehow, as little as I like Chris Christy from New Jersey, He is right that we need to address income and outgo.  For years, everyone has hollered, Not in My Back Yard and has made even the discussion hard. 

Specifically, Governor Christy has challenged that Social Security is one program that has no, if any needs testing for the majority of you out there.  Clearly, what he is proposing will have little effect on people like our parents that  have SSOC Sec  it as their main source of income.  He wouldn't suggest that it even gets looked at until the person makes $80,000 a year.  It wouldn't get eliminated until the person makes $180,000.  

Just so you will remember, the Legislators in Washington raided the Social Security Trust fund years ago and what we all thought was our savings were spent.  Today the income to the fund just barely exceeds the outgo.  This just highlights my level of trust in the government.

Have I told you about my Social Security payments?  I paid in the 7% each year I worked in the Private sector.  I had the necessary number of quarters to qualify prior to joining the Civil Service system. After I was retired from there, I also worked in the Private sector and paid the full amount to Social Security.   I sat down with one of the Social Security workers and was told that my Civil Service and Military retirement (from the Guard) almost eliminates any payment I should get from Soc Security. I sure as heck didn't have a discounted rate on what I paid.  Doesn't seem fair but who said life was fair.

I guess, one of the problems I would make Congress face is the old question of a balanced budget.  Not the fake kind that the Clinton's touted where the income and outgo were equal, but one that takes steps to start reducing the deficit we have run up over the years.  Oh well. 





There was a time in my life that I didn't have many limitations.  I was tall, strong and street smart.  To make up for any mental limitations, I was also a hard worker.  Even in combat I tried to live each day the best I could and never try to face death head on.  I tried to be the sneakiest bastard when it came to getting near the death man.  One thing I tried to do was to see what rules I faced and find ways to overcome those limits.  I always tried to be one step ahead of the education limits in both the Military and the Civilian world.  When given tough jobs, I always tried to do them as well as I could. 

OK, enough of that stuff.  The real fact is that in spite of everything, I am right now facing my limitations.  There is a broken tree branch hanging over the deck and I need to go out and throw a rope over it and pull it down.   Because I am now n a blood thinner,  Barb won't let me near the door or the rope.  Dang, I hate it when that happens.  I would have gone over to one of the big box stores last week and purchased a new mower.  Right now I am just watching the grass grow, and grow and.... Oh well, I think I still have my mind and if I am losing it, I am just crazy enough to think I'm OK.   

For the last month, the papers were filled of basketball players who were going on to the NBA Draft.  Today the good news started listing the players that realize that getting their degree is also important.  Perry Ellis of KU and the Guards from Wichita State have announced they still have unfinished business at their universities and will stay at least one more year. 

The other night I watched the Movie Blind Side and in that movie, the Big young man playing the hero of the story, Michael, wrote a piece for one of his classes.  In that story within a story, he discussed the  feelings of courage and those self doubts that nag you.   Did the men at the Alamo fully understand they would probably die?   How about the troops under Custer?  Where did their bravely start to flag and the realization of their impending death hit then in the face.   Into the Valley of Death rode the 600.   Do you wonder if their shorts might have been stained a little brown because of the fear that gripped their guts?  Me too!

For the last week I have read the Obits in the paper with a different view.  Yes, I joke that  I read them to make sure that I'm not in there.  This week I have looked at the age of the people leaving this mortal earth and  compared my age to theirs.  If you could look it up, would you really want to know how much longer you have to live?   I look at the statistics and I still have a few good years, but the truth is the days get shorter with each passing day.  When things like this illness hits, I wonder what will be the cause of the end.  Will it be some bitter disease or some catastrophic accident?  I vote for the sudden end or just have my heart stop mid sleep some night. 

After a week in the Hospital, I went to the Barbershop Chorus Practice last night.  I didn't stand the entire time on the risers but I did sing from the sidelines.  I had so much fun I forgot to go home at 9 PM like I had decided to do.  I figured that if it didn't kill me, I would stay as long as I could.  It didn't so I did. 

I filled the prescription for my Xerelto yesterday.  They gave me an odd amount.  It was a 21 day supply and they listed the cost at just under $500.00.  Dillon's charged me $20.00,  What a deal.  The lady that comes to visit in the hospital told me that Walgreens told Tri-Care that they couldn't discount the meds as deep as Tri-Care wanted.  I guess Dillon's and Walmart can make it up somewhat by selling other things.  I will sure try to give them all my business.  I can't even think what it will cost when I get the 6 month prescription filled.  I'll see my Doctor this week and see if I can beg a few samples from him. 

Oh well, Taxes Await.! 



Well Crap, Oh Dear,

I guess we get smarter because we have to learn things the hard way.  I now found that the symptoms of a cold and the flu can be something else entirely.

After the Month of February being at or near my death bed from the coughing/bronchitis  I had, I thought I was getting a little better.  I would have a week of low grade fever and  my pulse rate would fluxuate wildly.   I went to the doctor and he gave me a 10 day course of antibiotics.   I thought I felt a little better but not much

On Easter, I went out and tried to hook up my little trailer on the back of the Crown Vic.  I literally could not pick up the tongue of the trailer when in the past I could almost pick up the entire trailer.  All I could do was drop it and ask Dave out come help me hook it up   When I got back home, my pulse rate was 104 and my Blood pressure was 165 over 105.  That evening I ran a fever.

I was scheduled to have a physical the next day so I didn't go to minor Med or the ER.  Right after the doctor saw what rough shape I was in, he told me to go home and sit buy the phone while he scheduled some tests.  The first test was a stress test and I was able to walk about 6.5 minutes on the tread mill and my heart is in fairly good shape.

They scheduled me for a MRI that afternoon.  I went through the procedure and instead of going home like everyone else, I was put in a wheel chair and taken to the ER for admission to the Hospital.
I had accumulated enough blood clots in my lungs to make it look like I had been shot by a shot gun.  It wasn't the largeness but the amount of clots that made it next to impossible to breathe.  I started a Heparin Drip there in the ER and they looked for several hours for a bed to put me in. 

Since Tuesday last week, I have been poked, prodded and tested about every way possible.  To add injury to illness. they found some nodules in my thyroid they wanted to biopsy before I went home.  The problem with that was the instruction from Doctor crossed in the E-Mail system and the Nurse had already given me the first dose of Xerelto, the blood thinner.  The had to take me back off that and put me back on the Heparin and wait until Monday to get the Xerelto out of my system to then do needle biopsy.   Today.   The only good thing I can say is that I'm home for now.

MUD, the sickie 


I am just sick, not Dying

I think I have shared with you that were I to die tomorrow, I would feel that I have led to full life. The only problem with that statement is I really haven't looked death in the face lately.  Well, I am sick but the Doctors can't seem to find a cause.   I had a really bad bout with bronchitis or what felt like adult onset Whooping Cough in February and haven't been truly well since.  In March I went back to the Doctor over a low grade fever and he put me on an antibiotic for 10 days and I felt better.  The fever is back but the accompanying shortness of breath and fever has him perplexed.    Me too.  

The other day we had our son and his in-laws over for dinner.  I smoked a pork loin and it was great.  When the visiting slowed down, I went out to load Dave's mower on the small utility trailer to take it back to his house.  I brought it here to do a fall tune up and put some new belts on it.  As I tried to move the trailer over to the car, I just ran out of steam. I could almost pick up the trailer and carry it but I couldn't even roll it to where I wanted it to be.  I moved it a little of the way and just had to sit down or fall down.   Every evening I also run a low 100.7 temperature and my blood pressure has been all over the place.  I got the mower home and just made it back to the couch  My blood pressure was in the 160/90 rand but what had me really worried was the pulse rate of 104.  I have had a resting pulse rate in the 60's for most of my life.  Now just walking to upstairs has me so winded that I am really worried. 

I had a stress test yesterday and the good news is that I managed to walk 6 minutes and 30 seconds.  The doctor that was monitoring me said my heart was working really well and there is no involvement in my heart in all what ails me.  Thank god for that.   They had a really nice lady doing a sonogram of my heart before and after the stress test.  She too scraped my chest with a dry razor and I look like a fat cat with the mange.  The good news is that I am not going to the beach to impress anyone.    I told her my old joke that the best cure for nudity over the age of 50 is a full length mirror.  

Sometime today I am going to drag out the Obituary I wrote a few years back and throw a quick update on it.  I don't think it will need much but it like my living will probably needs an updating.  I think the will Barb and I wrote a couple of years ago is pretty good and It'll do.

Yes, boys and girls, I must have been pretty much out of my mind when I did the first Version of Turbo Tax a while back.  I started over and I am about 10,000 less owed to the Federal Government.
That's another task to finish  this week. 

Today's paper said that KU held a press conference to say that Cliff Alexander is leaving for the
NBA draft.  Noting there to surprise us.  Get caught with your hand the NCAA's cookie jar and
it is something the Universities want to fight for.  He was a great young player and may be a force in the coming years.  He grew at least 50% this year but he is a work in progress.  With the loss of Kelly and Cliff, that's two slots they will have to select new players.  The only senior was a walk on.

Better get moving and see if I can get it all done while I can.

MUD, the sickie
Sick Lame and Lazy fall out to the rear.  Dang, I hated that when that happened.


Suprise, Suprise, Suprise!

I wonder how many people had their final brackets for the Big Dance broken last night.  Who the heck are the Wisconsin Badgers?  What rock have they been hiding under all year?   The only question is how many first round draft picks will be left after the Kentucky team announces they are going to the NBA draft.   So far the news out of Lawrence has been slim pickins this year.    Only Kelly Obure had said he is gone next year.  I'll bet Cliff Alexander will be close behind.   I'll bet that Bill Self won't get in the way of that.

Today I am trying the crock pot garlic smashed potato recipe.  pretty much like the cook top version except you put them in the crock pot and leave them alone until they are done.  No big hot pots of water to drain.  We'll see.    I am also going to cook a pork loin on the rotisserie.  Spin that sucker in the smoke and eat it when it's done.  I love a good pork roast and I don't need the extra salt of ham. 

I am going to try to make a succotash out of shelled Edamame.  Yes, I know it is soy beans and I'll cook it with corn and serve it to see if anyone eats seconds.  Barb is making rolls and strawberries that will be served over angel food cake.

Barb won't let me touch any of the raw food as I am again running a fever.  Not sure what is going on.  I'll go to the Doctor on Monday for my annual Physical and let him try to figure it out.   I am pretty much OK in the morning but at night 100.7 is fairly normal.  I usually run a 97.6 not 98.6 after having Malaria as a when I got home from Vietnam.  In fact, this feels a lot like that.  I just don't feel worth a crap at the end of the day and am sick in the night.  I also notice that I feel short of breath after climbing up the stairs. 

Oh well, time to get on with the building of a fire in the grill.

I hope you all get at least one chocolate bunny.  If you don't, I don't want to hear a Peep out of you.



Good News, Bad News

The good news is that the latest round of whatever is ailing me is not the same bronchitis type illness I had back in February.   The bad news is that after a round of antibiotics I am still running a late night fever. (101.5) The really good news is that I have a Doctor's appointment on Monday for a Physical and hopefully he might find the error of my ways.  There had to be something going on somewhere. 

The more I work on my taxes in Turbo Tax the less I like it.  I did a rough estimate on the taxes I would have to pay and I am way underfunded on withholdings and over paid in the input area.  I finally just started over last night and will see where it takes me today.  Part of the problem is that it asked me about interest it started making me fill out a form I have never used and I am unsure what percentage to use.  I am pretty sure that the taxes on $1800.00 should not increase my taxes by $4,000.   Oh well, whatever it says when I finish if it tells me there is not a likelihood of being audited, I will write a check and move on smartly.

Today we will be cleaning upstairs as we will have visitors for lunch tomorrow.   I am going to cook a Pork Loin on the grill spit.  I love to watch as the meat makes slow turns in the smoke.  It always is as good as it looks.  Throw in some smashed potatoes, green veggies, lots of rolls and it will all be good. 

What do you do with over-ripe bananas?  Barb makes banana cup cakes.  The only problem is my will power to not eat the all as soon as they are done.   They make the kitchen smell so good and with melted butter they are fantastic.  Heck, they are pretty darned good for breakfast the next day when they are cold. 

What do you like for breakfast?  My standard order on the road is Ham and two over medium, side of hash browns and dry whole wheat toast.  Yep, bring on the coffee.  I am not a big one for juice for breakfast.  At home, it is either cold cereal or whatever is left over in the fridge.  I will eat cold pizza, cold Bieroaks, cold banana muffin cupcakes and about anything.   I would rather have it cold.  Plus hot black coffee.

The other day after making a fairly large batch of Bieroaks, Barb tried to text a message to our son that she was bringing him over some.  The auto correct on the phone kept telling him that she was bringing buttocks.  She finally split it into two words Beer Oaks and it let her send the message unmolested.  Don't you love the technology of today.  In the past she would have just picked up the phone and called or like me just take them over.  I have never been turned away at the door when I have free food.  I do worry that my grand kitties will have forgotten me and run and hide when I come in.  They aren't like dogs and will remember you always.

This spring has been pretty dry and everything is dusty.  Even with the new furnace filters after a week everything has a layer of dust.  I read that a lot of dust in the house is dead skin.  Unless we are reducing to skeletons, we could not create this amount of dust.  I can imagine the lovely Dr Temperance Brennon examining the bones and declaring it the worst case of death by dry skin ever.  Yes, Natural Causes from dry air in Kansas.

THE END IS NEAR!   Yes sir, the NCAA Men's Basketball season is about over.  The final 4 games start tonight and will end next Monday night.  When the dust settles, I fully expect Kentucky to be on top.  They are a darn fine team and can close out games.  The good news is that unless the Doctor puts me in the hospital, I will be singing when the final game is played.  I will try to celebrate by stopping by Sonic and getting one of those half priced Chocolate Malts on the way home from practice.   I will do that no matter who wins.

Oh well, I'd better get started with the cleaning and taxes.  Either way, there is work to do.



Answers to 50 Questions

1 . What time did you get up this morning?
1 AM, 3 AM and 7 AM... Drank three glasses of Tea at dinner last night. 

2. How do you like your steak?
Yes.    Grilled medium rare and with good friends is best.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Taken. While we were on the road.  I loved it but it was a little brutal for Barb.

4. What is your favorite TV show?
NYPD Blue.  On the cooking channel Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
On the beach at Rabat Morocco wasn’t bad but right here at home in Rabbit run is just great.

6. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Left over bierocks.  Great stuff McGee.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?
Yes.  Eating about anything is fine by me.  I like to cook on the grill but am just at home with a pot of Ham and beans. 

8. What foods do you dislike?
I tried Boiled Peanuts once and am not the biggest fan.  Other than that, pretty much see it, eat it.

9. Favorite Place to Eat?
Right here at home.  

10. Favorite dressing?
Blue Cheese dressing and in a pinch Ott's

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? 53 Chevy truck, 57 Chevy, 2004 Crown Vic.

12. What are your favorite clothes?
This is a girls question isn’t  it.  I wear clothes because it is ugly for a 60 year old guy to run around naked.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
  North out of Idaho into Canada and then east and come back down through Montana.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
I have everything I need and most of what I want so what do you think?

15. Where would you want to retire?
Rabbit Run, Tecumseh, BY God, Kansas

16. Favorite time of day?

17. Where were you born?
Wichita, KS at Wesley medical Center

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
KU basketball

19. Apple or PC?
PC.  Apples are great in a pie.

20. Favorite quote?
A Journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step.

21. Book you most hated having to read for high school English?
I don't think I have ever read a book I didn't enjoy.  I generally stop pretty much after the first chapter if I don't enjoy it.

22. Vegetarian or carnivore?

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?

24. Do you have any pets?
none right now.  I do have grand- Kitties.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?
Most of the news is so political nowadays that I go out and make my own.  Read ridingwithmus@blogspot.com

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
Older.  With money

27. What is your best childhood memory?
My friends, Ronny, Harvey, Wayne (Not as Much) Danny Rex.

28. Are you a cat or dog person?

29. Are you married?
yes.  47 years worth with the same person and the love of my life.

30. Always wear your seat belt?

31. Been in a car accident?
Yep’er Skippy.  Rolled one over and over and lots of little accidents.

 32. Any pet peeves?
Stupid people that go out of their way to prove it.

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?
See number 22.  Omnivores love it piled on their pizza. 

34. Favorite Flower?

35. Favorite ice cream?
I am trying to remember if there is any I don’t like.  There is a new Wells Blue Bunny “Very berry” that is wonderful.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?
Got food poisoned at “taco bell” so that isn't it.  5 Guys is the latest.

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?
none,  Passed it on the first try in a car I had never driven before.

38. From whom did you get your last email?
George Webb, President of the Topeka Barbershop Chorus

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
Never happen McGee.  I try to spend cash and quit when it is gone.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
With my mild ADHD everything is spontaneous. I have to plan to plan.

41. Like your job?
I am retired what’s not to like.

42. favorite veggie?
tomato, but I really like all veggies

43. What was your favorite vacation?
Yellowstone with out a doubt.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?
Had to be Dave and Barb.  No Wait it was both Barbs.

45. What are you listening to right now?
Barbershop Tape for our Show next week.

46. What is your favorite color?
Damn girlie questions... I guess Black for the t-shirt and blue for the jeans.

47. How many tattoos do you have?
none  Do I look like some Navy Puke?

48. Favorite song from your teen years?
Hell, I can’t remember my favorite song from yesterday let alone 40 years ago. 

49. What time did you finish this quiz?

50. Coffee Drinker?
Yes but never after noon in the day.  Can’t sleep if I do.