Last Post

OK, it is the last post of 2015.  We will soon be in the middle of 2016 and wonder where the last year went.  This year has flown by and we have managed as a family to wear out most of two cars.  I will go pick up Dave's car from the dealership and see if there is any hope by changing the oil we can get a few more thousand miles out of it.  I think that at 88,000 miles that little Caviler is way over its limit.  Both of our cars have had a deer strike this year and at least the Ford is still running well.  Dave's car, not so much.

A little while ago, I asked Barb what she was going to do today and she said not much.  She did un-decorate the Christmas tree and I took the carcass out side.  I think about June we will finally stop having dried needles found in the  corners of the dinning room.  Probably will be when I try to clean up all the needles from the fern that normally sits in the corner.  We just got all the blooms from the Christmas cactus picked up when we put the Christmas Tree up.  Oh well, we neither one are picky about what lives near the dust bunnies (Thank God)

For the last couple of days, out 'nother daughter Mel from Texas has been here with her two dogs.  They are so much better managed now than they were the last time they were here.  One of the dogs is deaf and doesn't know just how loud she barks.  Other than that they have been fun to have to pet and play with. 

I am thinking about how we can get the word out about singing valentines.  In years past it worked well and paid a good return on out efforts.  Last year not so much.  I think if we get an early start on putting up fliers and getting the word out we can make it pay.  If not, I think this may be the last year for it.

What would you do if you found that your hobby is on a death spiral. Our Barbershop Chorus membership is not near what it was and I have heard that our director may be leaving in April. If he leaves, that may be the end unless we can find a director that really wants to lead a bunch of old geezers.  I know what we need is a bunch of young blood to join us but not sure how to make that work. 

Oh well, better shut this down and get working on my plan for next year.



Good Advice

I would normally not read the editorial page in the paper.  Mostly I read the sports pages, the advice column and the funny paper page.  This morning I did read an article on the bottom of the page written by a 41 year old black lady.  She said to not make a New Year's resolution as that can make it way to hard to stay positive.

I kind of boiled it down to Plan Annually but act daily.  We really can only control life one day at a time so we should try to live that way.  After many years of sobriety doing just that, I can attest that it just feels right to me.   Did you notice that there was a mention of an annual goal setting in my advice? 

 I know a lot of people that just live life on a daily basis.  Their problem is that they don't have a rudder on their ship to change direction.  They are a lot like a big ship headed to a dock and it is mostly luck if they stop where they need to stop and go only where they were pointed.

Here are a few of the areas you need to put in your plan:

Mental Health -  We are all a little crazy, so try to not focus on it.  Being overly concerned can make you crazy.  A good smile period will do wonders.  If you can't work up a smile, you seriously need to see a Doctor.  Drugs and Therapy can help.

Financial -  I boil this down to do what you did, and you will get what you got.  If you don't have a plan on where you are going, how can you get anywhere near a forward direction.

Physical - When I was young, I could generally get back in shape in the early spring and be good all summer.  Now it is taking longer to get into shape that the time left in the summer.  Did I mention that I hate to get old.  The only problem is that I love to live and these two kind or work against each other.  See number one.

Daily plan - If you don't act like what you are doing is important, how can you ever reach success.  Yes, I realize that now that I am retired it is easy for me to say but I really did work near the end of my career towards my goals with a daily plan.  I didn't always reach what I wanted but it beat the hell out of the alternative.

Family - The only thing worse than being on your own is acting like your support group won't help. The success for me this Christmas season wasn't the gifts, it was the people.  You want to catch my eye on Facebook?  Post pictures of the kids you spend time with.  I don't care about your new car or the new toys for Christmas, It is the genuine smiles on the faces. 

Now get out there and see if a focus on today can make your days better.  Whatever happens in the future will happen in the future. 



Happened Again

One of my rental houses is vacant right now and it is in need of a lot of TLC to return it to good shape.  I think I am going over in a little while to see what needs done the most.  I might start with taking the trailer over so I will have a place to put some of the trash that got left.  I had a deposit on the house but cut it in half a years back or two and now I wish I had just evicted them when I had enough money to do some rehab.  One of the things I need to do is to change the locks.  I bought a set of locks that allow me to change the keys without replacing the locks so that should be fairly easy.

Did you get everything you needed for Christmas?  I only needed some black socks and got them.  Everything else is just added stuff to my accumulation of what we already have. No, wait, I did get a screwdriver that switches bits.  The good news is that I have a bit set to replace any of the bits if they wear out.  One of the first things someone did at the Christmas party was to push the disassemble button and after spending quite a while, I got it back together.  Only one small problem.  There was a very small magnet that also fell out and I had no clue where it went.  The good news was that after spending a half an hour, I managed to find out where it went. Now all is fine.

The weather here in the Heartland is predicted to give us 4 - 8 inches of snow starting some time today.  I will need to fire up the tractor once or twice and make sure it will do the job if I need to push snow out of the drives.   Dave's drive has a row of cedar trees along the west side of the drive and generally drifts shut if it snows and blows.  The wind is blowing right now and I am pretty sure that it will continuer doing so. 

We had a nice surprise on Christmas day.  Our friends from Morocco stopped by as they were rushing to see all the people that want to see them.  They are here for only a week or so.  Gerald's father is not doing well and they wanted to get back and see him at least one more time.  Their girls are growing up.  Their youngest is in the 7th grade.  They are headed into the teeth of the bad weather as they are traveling to Meade, KS.  I hope they made it safely there yesterday.  I just got a Facebook post from a niece that is traveling back from Texas today and she said they are driving into a tsunami.
Glad to be home safely.

Oh well, better get my act together and get on with the day.



Only 4 days left

Christmas will be here in only 4 more days.  I still haven't been able to discern what to get Barbara.  The temptation is to buy her some warm clothes and move on.  I want a coat but I don't want to have someone else buy it for me.  I need to be there to try it on so I can be sure it fits.  I, like most of you probably fluxuate 10 to 15 lbs. from summer to winter.  I can wear a XL(T) for a jacket but when you put a sweater or a sweatshirt under a coat I need a 2XL(T).  

What do you think the protocol on posting pictures in Facebook?   Barb does not tag anyone's pictures and that makers it hard for interested family members to know who the heck everyone is.  My problem is that I even had to stop and ask Barb who some of them are.  Then again, I am not going to use the pictures for anything else.   My memory is far from complete and accurate as it once was.

Speaking of memory, the other day at the Christmas party we played a computer aided game and I picked the category music.  It was all pop music and I could not even begin to name the songs let alone know that snoop dog did anything but rap crap. 

The other day, someone put in the paper that there have been sighting of very large cats a little north of here.   It should not surprise anyone that with the large number of deer here in the heartland that we would have the number two predator to deer nearby.  Actually number three.  Number one is Cars, number two is hunters and number three is mountain lions or cougars. 

I have to agree that times here in the Heartland are getting harsh.  Our death toll in Shawnee County is 14 which is double that of last year.  I think there was only one death related to gang violence . 
The rest were family violence.    When we can't make peace or walk away from a confrontation with family, there has to be a lot wrong.

I hate to say this but I feel that with the large number of people in the USA that could do a great job as President, the candidates we have are inadequate.   But with that said, there are a lot more people in the Congress that need replaced to make it all work out.  We need a couple of cycles of not electing the incumbents to clean up the mess.  I want someone there that understands that all of the money belongs to the people and not to be given freely to others.  If it is important that we spend only what we take in, the fact that there needs to be compromise should be no secret.  In my perfect world, I would put Dave Ramsey in charge of the Budget.  Then, I would make it illegal for the congress to overspend the budget. 

Oh well, better get moving on for the day.



Busy Week

How do I tell someone that is sending multiple posts of Facebook that if I wanted to read all the stuff he is posting, I would look it up to start from the original location.  I do appreciate the information from time to time that he provides, but the multiple posts makes him look like he had nothing to do but copy and paste crap from other people.   I want him to post original crap from him not OPC (Other People's Crap)  Did I just coin a term that is worthy of Facebook?   Might give it a try.

The other morning on the news in Tulsa, one of the on air personalities said there is a study out that says that married people eat more regularly and together and increases their Body Mass Index.  So the real question women should ask their husbands is "Do you make my butt look fat."  That equally applies to men but most men don't really care.  In fact increases in Body Mass for me means that my belly helps push my pants down from the front and my skinny white boy butt could use some augmentation to help hold the pants up. 

Today is the Petty Family Christmas in Kansas City.  It will cause us to miss part of or all of the Hawks game in Lawrence.  The only good part is that I know there will be a TV in KC that probably will carry the game.  Besides that, the chances of KU losing a game in Allen Field House (aka the PHOG)  is fairly low.

Oh well, Better get moving and go take care of Petty Gang Business.



What a Great Day

On Saturday, our Barbershop Chorus sang at 7 older adult Care Facilities here in Topeka.  We sang at two of the places for two different groups so it was really 9 performances.  The part that made it great for me was that we sang "Mary Had a Baby" each time.  The first line is a Baritone only line " Mary Had a Baby."  As the only Baritone I sang it as a solo It was just a great sound and as the song ends, the last notes were a Baritone and Bass combination that just rocked.  It didn't hurt that the best Bass in the chorus was right next to me and he and I blended it together the best I have ever heard it.  You should have been there.   I am sure we spread the joy of the Holidays across the city of Topeka.

On Sunday morning, my computer monitor just went black.  No matter what I did to the computer, it went black and stayed there. It normally only shuts off when the computer does.  I was at Walmart and called Dave to see what he recommended to replace it with.  He asked me the question about if I had tried to manually turn it on?  Well DUH Dennis, I hadn't.  I went home and guess what?  it turned on and everything is fine.  There is some truth in the age old adage, try the simple things first.  (Then call you son it that doesn't work)  I guess I raised him right and he has continued to grow from there.  I love my son Dave and I will probably buy him that new Video Card with the money we saved.

After singing all over Topeka, I knew that going to the Sprint Center to see the hawks would just be more than I could do.  We stayed home and watched it on TV.   My Niece Jennifer snagged some tickets from other friends and took several members of the family.  I was very pleased that Asa and Julia got to see the Hawks play one of the finest games this year.  If you saw them at the University games in Korea, you will know that they sand bag at the first of the game and then run the wheels off the other team at the end.  They did just that and it was one of the best halves of the year.  I just hope thy don't dig too deep a hole later on.  Oh well, they have the muscle and guns to win.

Today in the paper a young lady asked dear Abby (Or her replacement) if she thought she should sue the rapist that had hurt her many years ago.  Well, she did admit that the guy is dead now.  It is clear that suing a dead person is the height of folly.   Boys and Girls, taking someone to court is pretty silly unless the value of the damage is pretty great.  There is a pretty good chance that the court and a jury doesn't think the damage done is as much as you do.  There is an old saying that I use.  It is pretty much like wetting your pants in a dark suit.  It gives you a warm feeling but no one but you notices.

Our Christmas theme this year is Star Wars.  It is pretty cute and Barbara found some lights to spell out the words, "May the force be with you."  We have about 25 of the original Star Wars characters and they are on the tree.  Yes, I will be one of the people that will see the new Stars Wars movie over the Holiday season. 

I had better get moving before I become stuck in place here on this chair.  It probably does need replaced as my present to myself. 



Great times

Yesterday I picked up a great friend at the KC Airport.  He has been in Morocco and I thought it appropriate to greet him with a rack of ribs.  Then we went to Lawrence and saw the second half of the KU game with Holy Cross.  Holy Cross is a team that beat Harvard that last week gave KU fits.  The Hawks put on a display of what shooting and defense can do.  Gerald was in Hog heaven as a KU fan.  I hope we can be as much fun for his family when they come in next week. The only sad part of this whole adventure is that Gerald's father is not doing well and it is happening when the majority of us are looking forward to having a happy holiday. 

This week we had a discussion about the impact on our retirement savings once we start making the mandatory withdrawals.  The temptation I have is to have the withholdings made as quarterly withdrawals and just to send the money to the IRS.  I think it will about be what we would have to pay extra on the 15th anyway.   It just hits Barb wrong that all the money we have saved for retirement should just go to the Government.  I tend to agree but can't argue with the fact that we all must throw in some taxes to make it more fair. 

How well do you read your e-mail.  This week I sent a message out to the normal cast for the Barbershop practice schedule.  We have about 45 names on the list but only have about 25 actual singers.  I think I am going to start paring people off the list to see who notices. 

 On the subject of today's communications, how has it impacted you on a personal level?  I think we stay in touch much better but it is not as personal in a lot of cases.  I do get to see a lot more pictures of the newest members of friend and family.  That does brighten my day.  I will admit that I haven't written very many letters this past year.  I did write to a grand nephew that had written to me as a social studies project. 

If you don't hear from me much over the next couple of weeks, I am like you going to be pretty busy. I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and  Happy New year.  If that is not what you want to hear, change it to an appropriate greeting in your language or religion.



Busy Week

Barb and I compared our schedule this morning and found that we both have a full schedule and they for the most part don't fit.  I did get up and clean the kitchen this AM, but after cooking breakfast I have a full sink of dishes.  I guess that's the problem with my cooking.  I tend to make a lot of food and a mess at the same time.  One time my daughter-in-law was talking with one of her work friends.  She said she wasn't the greatest cook.  Her friend asked her what she did when her husband Dave said  he wanted a good home cooked meal.  She replied that it was easy , they would go to my house.   I always try to cook great meals when we have an audience.  

Tonight is going to be a fun time.  We have a great friend arriving at MCI at 6:30 and KU tickets at 7:00.  Clearly we will have to make a decision what we are going to do.  I told Gerald's wife that I would give him three choices.  a. Go straight to the KU game and see the second half.  b.  go to a good BBQ restaurant for some BBQ, c. Got to his brother's house so he can get some rest after a many hour flight.  I tell you that I would have a tough time making that choice.  The good news is he is young enough to fly for over 12 hours and then go watch a ball game.  We'll see.  The good news is that the ribs can always be eaten after the game.   Some time during the game I do need to drop off some tickets to Donna so she can pass the on to Jennifer in Kansas City.  Will be a tricky swap but no tall step for a tall stepper. 

The only sad thing this year is that our friend Gerald is rushing home because his father is ill and they are not sure how much longer he can survive.  Nothing puts a damper on the Holiday Season than the potential loss of a parent.  I know he has a strong faith and he will get through this tough time and come out the far side in good shape.

The other day I saw a post by the daughter of one of my good friends.  It had a picture of Ron putting on a tie.  He had someone helping him as he and I share a hatred of ties.  I made a snarky comment and Ron's sister chimed in and sent me a friend request.  The really neat part is that June married a fellow who's last name is May.  Yep she is now June May.  I love that name even if it will screw up my months again.  As a Kid we sang "Shine on Harvest Moon, I ain't had no loving since January, February, June or July."  Musically it was great, but not what the teachers wanted me to parrot back to them.   Whatever, I hope June has a great life.

I guess if I am going to get everything done today a good place to start is here. 



Monday Tidings

Did you ever wonder what the heck tidings are?  Oh well, they sound good in Christmas songs.  The question from a Jewish mother was what to do when someone wishes her Merry Christmas.  I say she should wish them a Mazel Tov or Shalom.  (I would say happy honnicah if I could get spell checker to get me closer than this.  It offered happy Monica but I am pretty sure that is not right.)  It is like that greeting of Happy Holidays that the Political Correctness Police are trying to get us to use.  Dad would say whatever floats your boat.  Me, I try to not let happy greetings not change what I say of do.

This morning I am working on the Christmas songs we will be singing the rest of the week. One night this week we will be singing for an Older Adult Care home and then on Saturday we will sing for 7 more.  I sure hope we can all last that long.  I am working on a program to help me improve my voice by a guy named Roger Love.  I feel better after I have warmed up but an mot completely there yet.  My real goal is to be ready for the singing valentines and then the Brigade Roundup in Texas in April.  

One of my friends posted a picture of a young Pilot and his wife today on Facebook.  The young man was killed yesterday in a crash on the other side of the world.  I will promise you that carbon footprints are far lower on my list of important things than terrorism or the potential of War.  It really scares me when I hear the President and the Secretary of State tell us that our use of fossil fuels will get us to hell quicker than anything.  I really get my hackles rankled when people say Donald Trump says the most stupid things.  I think he may be 4th but I have candidates for number 1-3.   They all have been candidates for or are the President.

I hope that the small water leak under the Ford is not a major thing.  I noticed it needed a lot of antifreeze the other day so I guess I will really need to get out and find the leak.  I don't know if it is related to the high miles on the engine or the deer strike.  Either way, I need to get on it today.  We are going to have temperatures in the 50's all week.

Have a great day out there. 



Can this be the year?

After 11 years of winning the Big 12 championship in Men's Basketball, can this be the year they don't?  Last night we saw the play a team from Harvard that out rebounded them and out hustled them at almost every position.  They were a 22 point favorite by Las Vegas standards.  They were lucky to escape with a win at home.  Sheesh!

Do you think there is a conscious link between our dreams and reality?  I know I haven't practiced my Christmas songs enough and dreamed that I was totally unprepared at a practice.  This next week we will sing for one Older Adult Care Facility and then on Saturday we will sing at seven.   Better get ready and not stress my voice out too much.  If I were singing Bass, I would be fine but as a Baritone it is right at the top of my normal vocal range.  

Do you have a calendar that you put all you appointments on?  Ours is getting fuller by the day.  Right now the only blank spots are between Christmas and New Years Day.  I will buy another one of those Shriner's Calendars again this year.  They are going to have drawings to give you a chance to win a small amount of money.  So far this year I haven't won anything but I also buy Lottery Tickets.  At least this is money for a good purpose. 

I took the Crown Vic to a local tire shop this week.  I decided that they are the one's that fix all my implement tires so they should get my business.  I told the owner what I wanted and he priced the tires 4 ways.  He started to tell me about the choices.  He was surprised when I bought the best set.  In fact I asked him to not tell me about the real cheap set.  I want to make sure that we have a really good set when we are out killing deer.  (that was a joke, I hope we never hit another one)

The paper had an article today about the fact that in 1947, it was reported that there were no deer in Kansas.  That is not the deal today.  I read that about 140,000 licenses were issued and almost a deer was harvested for each one.  Not here at Rabbit Run but I do hope the population doesn't continue to grow. 

Oh well, on to better things.




I have a friend that is afraid to retire because he doesn't think he has enough to do to stay busy.  What a dumb head.  It doesn't take long to find out that you will fill your time with the things you enjoy and it is all good.   I have a couple of hobbies (This is one) and singing is the other.  Throw in a little maintenance on the rentals and I have all I need to do.  OK, throw in a KU Basketball game or two and the wintertime just keeps getting better and better.

Today there was a program about car shows on TV and Barbara talked about how expensive that hobby is.  Throw in a major purchase once and a while and I'll bet in the long run the Master Gardner purchases almost cost as much.  Well, perhaps not quite as much.  But does she get to drive her bags of mulch?

How on God's Green Earth can the President not classify the San Bernardino attack anything but Terrorism?   What planet is he living on?  Oh I know, the one that is melting from Global Warming.  Anytime someone tells you they can cure a problem by Taxing it, LOOK OUT!  The biggest part of the lie is they say they will return the costs to the taxpayers.  They can't pay their bills now and want another source of revenue?  Just who do you think will pay the higher utility costs?  Yep'er Skippy - You and Me.  Does drinking the cool-aid made with the water from the Potomac River  make you stupid or do they think we are stupid because we don't?  

I saw a picture on Facebook where the President has Gabby Gifford in for a chat about how they can take the guns away from the people that are not within the Law.  Good question, but that's where you need to start.  I vote for them to start in Chicago and see what that would cost.  Some of the toughest Gun laws are in California and we saw what good those Laws did.  For those of you that think that taking our guns away I offer you the only solution.  Change the Constitution.  When the 2nd amendment goes away, I will consider telling everyone to turn in their guns.  Ain't gonna happen McGee.

Oh well, going to Lawrence to watch the kids play basketball.  Should be a fun game as Harvard is a 22 point  underdog.  I am looking for a 100 point day from the hawks. 



Crap, Oh Dear,

After putting the car back together, I took it to one of the local Lube Shops to have the oil changed.  I was reminded that the Transmission fluid and fuel filter needed to be changed and I had them do both along with the normal oil change.  On our way to the Basketball game in Lawrence, the car died in the little town od Stull.  Fuel was leaking out on the road and it would not run.  Clearly something had gone wrong.  I had it towed home and I got under the car to see what the heck had happened.  One of the hoses on the upside of the fuel filter had an obvious cut in it and it had burst and was leaking.  All it took was a 5 inch of new hose to make it all well.   The really bad news was that we missed the first game of the new KU player.

Oh well, Today I am going to put a new set of tires on the Ford and perhaps take a road trip.  Other than that, I am taking the day off.  Seems like I have been way too busy for about a week and last night after singing the National Anthem for the Road Runner Hockey game I fell asleep long before 9 PM.  Oh well, I am glad that I still have enough energy to get it all done.

For some reason this year I have kind of a renewed joy about things.  I know that there are a lot of negative things out there but I will quit worrying about things globally.  On the local level, I am really happy to see the kids on Facebook and in person. 

Better get rolling and see if I can get a lot done today.