Saturday, November 27, 2010

burp! Thanksgiving was great!

Thanksgiving was great - had dinner at sister Janice's house and her whole menu was delicious.  My daughter Beth and grandson Zachary went with me, so it was a good family outing.  We missed my son-in-law Chuck terribly but he is still in Wyoming and North Dakota trying to stay employed with the oil riggers.  The labor market here in town still isn't much, so he has been working far from home and not getting home very often.

Christmas shopping season opened with the plaza lights being turned on.  We put up our Christmas decorations and it's now time to think about how to celebrate the season.  Many of our relatives are having financial difficulties this year, so we intend to keep it simple.  Tonight my sisters and brother and their spouses and I will be getting together for our annual birthday steak dinner at Jess & Jims.  We have been doing this now for about 15 years and everyone really enjoys getting together and having a good meal.

I've been in a candy making mood - never tried that before, but it seems to be not that hard.  You get in the baking mood or the cooking mood or the candy mood every once in a while and the things you make are always so much better than the commercial product.  The only problem is to control your hunger after you make a big batch.  I find it's best to enjoy the making and then to enjoy the giving away to others that works best - otherwise I get saturated with too much of a good thing.

I hope that this Christmas all families can be together and share their love enjoy the season.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday November 24, 2010...Excuses from home

Holy cow!

Has it been that long since I put anything on this blog?  Time slips away so easily.  I was wrapped up in the election and then thoroughly depressed with the results (that's one excuse).  There has been a lot of sickness around this house (Beth, my daughter, and Zachary, my grandson, have been taking turns getting sick with one thing or another (that's another excuse).  It isn't that I haven't been thinking, maybe just not as clearly as usual.  But now that Thanksgiving is coming and holiday season is approaching, I'm starting to make my lists and checking them twice.  Most of the leaves have fallen and the grass has finally stopped growing so I mulched the leaves once and probably need to do that one more time before the winter freeze.

I've been watching the antics of the financial gurus and hoping that they don't completely destroy the economy.  Right now I'm seeing more unemployment in our family than ever before in my lifetime, so that tells me that this recession is dangerous and may have long term effects on all of us.  It would seem that the high-flying days are over for now and everyone will have to tighten up their finances to survive the coming troubles.  It feels like the middle class has really shrunk and that it may not come back very soon.  When I was a kid, a high school graduate could usually find a job in the manufacturing field - here in town we had Ford and GM and Pontiac and Vendo and Armco and Western Electric and many other major manufacturers who have mostly gone.  Now a kid needs a college degree to find any kind of self sustaining job and many of those are going overseas.  For a while it looked like we would have jobs opening up in the service sector but India and China have started taking many of those away.

We are becoming a nation of haves and have-nots with the have-nots growing in number.  Perhaps once the financial disarray clears up and our dollar reaches a lower value, we will begin growing the manufacturing base again?  It may be a painful adjustment till then.  Most of the people today are not aware of the lifestyle changes that had to take place during the depression, in fact many haven't even heard of them.  Life has been so good for so long that everyone expects that it will always continue that way - but the future may be a bit harsher.  Time will tell.  We have had a good run without any serious calamities such as war or famine here in the United States and we have all enjoyed the freedoms and opportunities, so I can't really complain if we hit a snag now.  Just keep a level head and look out for your neighbor.

I'll keep looking for that holy cow and write a bit more often.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday September 19, 2010...Check out new recipe

I made a Taco Casserole yesterday. Very good! Easy and nutritious.
I posted it in the recipes.  Try it out sometime when you're in the mood.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday September 18, 2010...Savor the memories

As more and more parts of me start retiring while the rest of me wants to keep on working and celebrating life, I am reminded of that National Computer Association saying: “They will have to pry my mouse from my cold dead hand” (or something to that effect).

As long as I have strength to sit here at the computer and the sight to see the screen and the ability to type and move the mouse, I will endure. I'm afraid my days of cross country running are over and I'll never swim the English channel or climb Mt Everest, but I will be out there striving to keep up with Facebook and Gmail. It's the little successes that make life interesting.

Enjoy what you can while you can and savor the memories.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday September 14, 2010...Old Friends, New Friends

What a JOY to meet old friends again!

I met with and visited with several friends from my high school days. It's been many long years since we had the time to sit and visit. John and Ted and I were in high school together and then John and I were in the same fraternity in college. In fact John was my pledge father and we shared an apartment for a while in those good old college days. Ted married Jane, who was the sister of another of my good friends, Charles. These friends grew up to be wonderful people and I look forward to sharing information about the interceding years. It was so good to see them all again. John was fortunate enough to find a wonderful woman, Margo, who also came to visit. In the relaxing retirement years ahead I look forward to renewing old friendships and reviewing memories of long ago. It will be a treat!

And another thing

Thinking about books again and life:

Too often, as we grow older, we look back on the written pages of our life and reflect. We should be looking ahead to the unwritten pages ahead and deciding what adventures we have yet to discover instead of looking back on what has already happened. We seem to be a society of observers now – we watch the actions of others on television while sitting in our air conditioned easy chair with snacks at hand. We admire people who actually get out there and experience life while we vicariously enjoy their activities.

Life slips away while we watch – too soon it's too late.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday September 13, 2010...Life is a book

I was thinking about life.

Life may be a comedy. Life may be a tragedy. Life may be a romantic novel. Life may be a series of hardships or of incredible luck. In any case, life is an adventure.

Think of your life as a biographer would write about it. Your life would be a book – it would have a beginning, many chapters and an end. Right now I'm nearing the end of my book and over the years, I have written many chapters. Some chapters were memorable and some are forgotten. The notable ones are worth remembering, even the sad ones along with the happy ones. You learn from your mistakes and from your successes. My book has had some great adventures, though not as wildly adventurous as others. My book has had some tragedies, but not as overwhelmingly sad as others. My book has had some great pictures and great sounds associated with it. My book has been well worth reading.

You never know exactly how your book is going to turn out, but you have some say in what is being written in your book. It's really up to you how you face the adversities of your book and how you deal with them. A successful book will be read well by others and enjoyed by many. A sad book with a lot of mistakes will be overlooked and not enjoyed. You may be in the beginning chapters of your book and haven't decided just where your plot is going – it really is up to you. You may be in the middle chapters and perhaps wandering about without a plan, but it isn't too late to straighten out the plot and redirect the completion of your book to an enjoyable conclusion. If you're in the final chapters of your book, you can do little about how your book has been written, but you still can make sure that the ending is a happy one and enjoyed by others.

I hope my book will leave its readers with a smile on their face and good memories. It has been a book that I have enjoyed writing and sharing with others along the way.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday August 23, 2010...Funny Puns

The pun, or paronomasia, is a form of word play which exploits numerous meanings of a statement, allowing it to be understood in multiple ways for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

A rule of grammar: double negatives are a no-no.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway).

Experts say the cost of funerals have risen by 50%, they blame it on the cost of living.

Math teachers have lots of problems.

The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

Seven days without a pun makes one weak.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday August 19, 2020...Quote of the day

I was sent this quote by email today and decided to pass it along.

There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.
Henry Ford


As we outsource our jobs, creating mediocre products for throw away mass consumption at the lowest price possible while paying the lowest wage possible, we destroy the very market we have come to depend on.

The middle class slowly dies and we are left with the “haves” and the “have nots”. The market economy that helped create this country has given way to the capitalist economy which thrives on separation of classes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday August 15, 2010...How hot is it?

How hot is it in southern Texas in August? I'm glad you asked.
I just returned from the Rio Grande valley in southern Texas (Down near Brownsville). I had been told that the heat down there is different because it's a “dry” heat – they LIED!

It's so hot the bees sweat.
It's so hot the armadillos are packing their bags and moving north.
It's so hot the surviving cows give powdered milk.

It's HOT! But there is a nice sweltering moist breeze from the ocean that forces you inside most of the day. It's a nice place to visit (in the winter). There are a lot of Winter Texans (who aren't there right now) who know better than to visit in the summertime. You live and you hopefully learn. Without air conditioning, it would really be uncomfortable. As we were returning north we passed just east of Dallas where it was the 13th day in a row over 100 degrees. Our car thermometer hit pockets of heat in certain areas that topped 107 degrees. It was good to get home to our comfortable 95 degrees.

It's so hot the trees are looking for shade.

Hang in there and really appreciate fall.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010...Another day, another war

It's starting to play with my mind. I'm remembering the frustration and lost feeling I had when we went to war in Iraq. It's been almost 9 years now since we invaded Afghanistan and we are still fighting over there. It's ramping up more and more and we are losing more and more of our young men in a war that it appears we are not going to win. At this point I'm not sure what we will win if we do win. We will have conquered a country we have no interest in with a population that feels we are invaders. Somehow religion has become involved and the purpose of our being there is becoming lost. I have heard that the Taliban and the Al Queda forces are operating out of Pakistan, so even if we win in Afghanistan they will still be a terrorist force to reckon with. I think back to when Russia with all it's strength couldn't conquer the Afghans and I wonder if we will do the same. I also remember Viet Nam and how we left so much blood behind us when we pulled out without accomplishing anything. Wars are different now and it doesn't seem to be about devastating the country, but rather winning the population to our viewpoint. I don't think that will happen in Afghanistan. I think we don't understand the Muslim faith and the intolerance of the extreme groups. They seem as obstinate as our Ku Klux Klan people here and we don't understand them either. When you're dealing with extremists you can't always reason and rationalize with them.

It goes on and it doesn't feel right any more.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday July 26, 2010...Summers of the past

Life goes on. The skunks have left and we feel less trapped. The swamp has dried out because of the heat of the last few weeks. We've been in the 90s with high humidity every day. One good thing about the weather is that it makes the grass go dormant so mowing is done less often. We did have a strong windstorm a couple of weeks ago. It uprooted trees and broke huge branches off of various trees in the neighborhood. Many limbs fell across streets and power lines so access was limited and power was out for several days. We had to buy dry ice for the freezer and refrigerator. We gathered up many piles and sacks of broken branches for the city to pick up.

Now that the hubbub is over, we can get back to the lazy hazy crazy daze of summer. We can now go outside without fear of mean, rabid skunk gangs.

I miss the large elm trees that surrounded my childhood home. On a hot summer day we would be outside under the trees enjoying the cool shade. Back then nobody had air conditioning so the house had all the windows open and we all hoped for summer breezes. At night we had window fans or the attic fan that would pull evening air across the beds for relief. A summertime drive to cool off and maybe get an ice cream cone was nice on the weekend when dad and the car were there. On a hot day we would run through a sprinkler or soak in a wash tub of cool water. Summer drove everyone outside, so we visited with our neighbors. Evenings would find folks out on their front porches in their porch swings waiting for the house to cool off. We would sit there and listen to the crickets or the cicadas sing their songs.

Summers now drive everyone inside to their air conditioned homes to watch the television. We don't often see our neighbors and get little exercise. We have exchanged our comfort for a whole new solitary lifestyle.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010...Summertime

It's turning out to be an interesting summer, so far.

My son-in-law, Chuck, got fed up with work at Deffenbaugh industries and was contacted by a previous employer from Wyoming who wanted him to come back to work for them – they have years of work ahead of them up in North Dakota at a big oil field. Chuck worked for oil riggers and drives the big trucks and is a very responsible worker. He decided to take them up on their offer and will commute from Kansas City to western North Dakota on a monthly basis. While he's there, they will be working 7 days a week for 12 hours a day – so it won't leave him much leisure time.

So now, it's just my daughter, Beth, and my grandson, Zachary and me. And we discovered that we have a family of skunks nested under the front stoop and possibly under the garden shed. This presents a possibly smelly dilemma. How do you get rid of skunks without getting sprayed? We really don't want to hurt the mother and 4 little babies – we just want them to move across the street into the forest that lies between our house and the interstate about a half mile away.

I really need to do something to fill up the space under the stoop. A few years ago I had some rather large wasps that built a nest there and the mail service wouldn't come to my house until I had them exterminated. The problem is that I have a courtyard out front that collects rainwater and the courtyard wall doesn't allow it to drain. Over the years, the water has apparently undermined the stoop and found a way out leaving a small cavern. So, as one thing leads to another, I need to shoo the skunk family away, find a way to either stop the rain or establish a new water course out of the courtyard, and then re-pour the walkway and stoop.

Maybe I need to eliminate the courtyard - or at least the courtyard wall. I've always wanted to pave the front yard so that I would have plenty of parking and no mowing. Maybe I could build a big fortress wall all around the property and then pave it all and have a hacienda type garden.... On the other hand, maybe I could just out-wait the skunks and let nature take its course.

Meanwhile, back in the swamp, which is what we call a good portion of our back yard, the rains keep the low area nice and sloshy. It's hard to mow back there unless you get a run at it and splash your way through it. I've thought about planting a bamboo forest to suck up the water, but I hear that it just keeps on spreading and taking over the whole neighborhood. It would eliminate the need for mowing, but I would probably have to hack my way through it to get to the back fence.

Life is interesting and there is always something new and exciting to discover. I like to think of myself as sort of camping out here in my Missouri home. That way, each little trial and tribulation seems really insignificant because other than the few problems now and then life is generally pretty comfortable here.

I wonder what the summer will bring next? It's hard to outguess the fates.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Saturday July 3, 2010...Don't panic

One thing I've really noticed lately is that panic comes on quickly while confidence comes on slowly.

In the business and financial world panic ensues momentarily with any bad news and a real calamity seems to institute the “herd stampede” mentality. “Head for the hills without thinking” takes over the majority of people involved in most any situation. We seem to be much more cynical about accepting good news and developing confidence.

The stock market drops precipitously with any kind of bad news but will climb slowly on good news and fair weather forecasts. We seem to accept the doom and gloom forecast as if we expected only the worst to happen and that this forecast confirms our expectations. Why aren't we happier and more confident and why don't we expect the best instead of the worst? Eventually, in life, all things work out the way that they will and we accept the inevitable and deal with it. If we accept what life brings us with confidence that it will ultimately work out well or acceptable, we can be much more at ease and a lot less stressed.

Accept the bad news and plan how it can be dealt with reasonably and how best we can adapt to the change it brings. This is what will have to happen anyway, so why not work with it immediately? When the good news comes along, as it always does, accept that as an expected fact and work it into your plan of life also. Level out the road, so to speak, fill in the valleys and reduce the hills and make the road more even and drivable. Save through the good years to help through the lean years. Build for the future and know that the sour makes the sweet more appreciated.

Presently we are experiencing recessionary times and there is more to endure before it gets better, but it eventually will get better. When those better times arrive, don't assume that they are the norm – save for the next cycle of downturn, which will come again. Don't expect the path through life to have no hills or valleys – it will not always be smooth and easy. Don't panic and don't exult – keep a level head and plan for the future. Life will be good and there will be joy as well as sorrow. That's what gives life its flavor.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Thursday July 1, 2010...Humdrum

Humdrum: Lacking variety or excitement

Not everyday can be full of excitement. Some days are humdrum.

Some days you can just sit back and listen to the mosquitoes humming along. The clouds form little puff balls and then slide across the sky before dispersing. The leaves on the trees just hang there limply waiting for a breeze to tickle them into movement. The squirrels are still busy-busy, but sometimes they freeze into squirrel statues --- before scurrying away. I wonder what they heard that made them stop that way. It's a humdrum day and my world is lazily passing by without a worry or a care. You need some days like that.

It takes a lot of effort to get up from the hammock and go get another icy cold drink of lemonade - maybe later.

For now I'm just going to sit back and watch the world pass by.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday June 21, 2010...The living is easy

Summertime and the living is easy.
It's hard to sit down and get serious when you feel lazy. In fact, it's hard to get into gear and do anything when the living is easy and the sun is warm and everything is green and lush. Sorry about that, but my mind has apparently been taking a summer vacation for a bit and didn't feel like putting serious thoughts onto paper. It isn't like the world has stopped being mean and nasty while I've had my hiatus. The oil continues to spout and the senate continues to stall and the world continues to pile up debt while the rest of us try to eke out a meaningful life. Sometimes it's hard to see the big picture and maintain our sense of right and wrong.

I need to stop watching and reading the news. All I see is the BAD news. I need the GOOD news. Even the cartoons can get a bit vitriolic at times. I just need to lay back on the wet grass and feel the summer breeze blow over me and watch the puffy white clouds form into whimsical shapes. It's good to ignore the rest of the world at times and just to BE in your immediate surrounding world. If I good reach inside my mind and attain the peace and quiet of a long forgotten summer day when I was young and less aware, I could relax and be happy once more.

Sometimes I wake up with that peaceful feeling, listening to the morning quiet before the bright sunshine has stirred the rest of the world into its hectic pace. It's a contemplative time when all things are possible and life is good. I haven't shaped my thoughts or made plans yet and have no immediate goals except to lie there and slowly awaken. All my limbs seem restful and supported and my brow is uncreased with no worries. My mind is content to just be there with no pressure and no direction. On those mornings, I will try to gradually focus my mind on one fact – that it's going to be a great day and I have no pains and no worries and only feel joy. It helps to start the day off that way.

Summertime really is vacation time. You don't have to multitask and you can put off those plans until tomorrow because tomorrow will be another bright and beautiful day, just like today.

Stay happy and healthy and enjoy the day.
This day will never repeat.
It happens only once in your lifetime.
Make a memory of today.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Saturday June 5, 2010...I am a liberal


a. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.
b : the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change

a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

Maintaining the status quo just for the sake of resisting change doesn't appeal to me when we find ourselves in trouble. I'm all for trying to find new solutions for problems that are overwhelming us and leading us to the brink of disaster. Sometimes tried and true past solutions will not solve modern problems and new solutions are required. The world is constantly changing and the transfer of information and data is accelerating as we watch. Solutions that worked in the old days may lag far behind the creation of new problems these days.

I believe that we should be open to progress and change but be watchful and careful at the same time. I am indeed a liberal because of that belief. I don't begrudge those who are conservative and oppose change, because we all are entitled to our opinions. But, when those who oppose change without true reasoning stand in the way of solving modern problems, I feel they are out of step with needed progress and actually impede solutions to critical problems. Some folks are negative without reason or thought and will not listen to logical arguments nor present their opposing argument. They are belligerent and negative and resistant to any change. These are the conservatives I have much trouble understanding.

I always thought that change for the better was GOOD and progress was what life should be about.

Our country was founded by liberals who wanted to change the status quo and started a revolution in 1776. Since then we have had much progress and much change. Why stop now? Let's keep looking for better answers.

Saturday June 5, 2010...I got my smile back!!

It really bothered me to have that front tooth missing, but I had to wait until the gum healed where the tooth had been pulled before getting anything done. I didn't realize how often I smiled. It's hard to smile with your lips closed. I didn't want to frighten little children or scare other people away because of my scary toothless countenance. But now I have my smile back and I'm not nearly so self-conscious. Life is good again. Now if I can get the pain in my back to subside, it will be perfect.

It could be worse. Today I am going to a memorial service for one of my high school chums. Dick was the star athlete in our class = good at all sports and great at some. He ended up being a professional baseball player. Now he is gone and I remember his cheery and carefree attitude with a smile. He was one of those natural athletes who just took life in its strides and excelled in all sporting endeavors he tried. It's sad to see fellow travelers drop out of our journey though life. I suppose that this will happen more often as life goes along. Memories are good and may be the only surviving elements of all our lives. I'll try to leave good memories behind and enjoy the moments that I have left - especially now that I can smile again.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday May 20, 2010...HOWDEE!!

It isn't a pretty sight.

Go ahead and laugh.

I've been fighting a broken front tooth for several weeks now. It was a crowned tooth from my teenage years that finally broke off flush with the gums. I had it pulled (not a pleasant memory). Unfortunately it hasn't been healing from the inside out as it should so I've been stuck with this merry grin to deal with. I'm sure that someday I will be able to look back and laugh, that's why I wanted to show the picture (for laughs). As soon as the healing takes place, I can get a partial plate to replace it. For now, I just have to be very very careful and avoid trying to bite anything.

Anyone for mush? Maybe ice cream?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Sunday May 2, 2010...May flowers

It's May already and here in the lowlands (elev 1000') the trees are green once more and the grass is growing. Days are creeping into the 70s with spring breezes.

In the mountains out west the snow is melting and the streams are starting to rampage. It's always green in the pine forests, but as the snow recedes, the grass and low vegetation awakes from it's winter slumber.

It's a pleasant time here in the lowlands and I begin to plan for a return to the mountains later when the heat rises on the plains.

Each location has its special appeal at different times of the year. Right now the rolling hills of Missouri are lush and green and the woods are filled with life.

I like May, especially after being cooped up all winter in the gray gloom. It's time for kite flying and outdoor excursions. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday April 29, 2010...Tests

My grandson was complaining about tests.
“I really hate tests”, he said.

I told him that I really LIKE tests and he groaned.

I had to explain that without tests you wouldn't know how much you were learning or if you really understood what you were studying. I told him that a test was like a game to me and I tried to win the game. I also told him that tests are with you throughout your whole life, so you might as well get comfortable with them.

Each job you do is like a test to see if you can do it and if you can do it with the least amount of mistakes then you are successful.

He groaned again and told me that I was always too positive.

I agreed that I prefer to see things in a positive way and try to accept what I can't change and to change what needs changing if I can. I have striven to see the glass as half full my whole life. I would hate to always be down in the dumps and negative. If you look for the joy in the moment, it is generally there to be seen.

I sure hope that I can pass along this philosophy to my grandson, because life can be so beautiful and joyful if you just open your eyes and look around.

Tests really are fun! Their like games to be won.
You just have to keep trying.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010...Life, Death, Memories

Generally, we live each day much like any other without looking up and seeing the big picture. But, on occasion, we will be reminded of our human frailty and be forced to consider our place in life.

This past week one of my high school classmates passed away. He was one of our finest athletes and one of our idols. Dick Kenworthy was a prime example of health and energy and athleticism that we all aspired to. His smile and his energy set the example of youth and vigor for us all. His death as well as the death of Richard Copaken one year ago have driven home the impermanence of life. Richard Copaken was one of our brightest classmates and had so much enthusiasm and energy and intelligence that we all seemed dim in his presence. Now with both of these fine examples of our generation gone, our class seems enervated and smaller.

Times like these make us reflect on life and death. Some of us know through our faith that there is more beyond the portals of life. Some of us are unsure and hope there is light beyond the curtain. And some of us assume that there is only life and nothing beyond. No matter what our beliefs, we all cling to the here and now with a tenacious grip on what we know for sure. We cling to each moment and each breath and each memory and hope for just one more adventure in this world of ours. The years have left us with many experiences and memories and knowledge that we hope will survive in the elemental spark this is us deep inside. We see our parents, our classmates, our friends and relatives pass away from our world and we hope that their spark lingers on after they shed their frail bodies. We hope and we wonder while we appreciate each day just a little bit more.

As life passes on, we still remain in the memories of those who remain. Dick and Richard still live in my memory as vibrant and energetic youths from long ago. They will always be there and that's a good thought.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday April 22, 2010...Believe in your dentist?

I've often said that as you get older parts of you retire earlier than other parts.

I've heard of people losing their hair or losing their balance or losing their hearing, but I seem to be losing my teeth one by one. I've spent a whole lot of money over the years on root canals and crowns and fillings and bridges and even partial plates. It's been fun!

The dentists always said “We can save your teeth!” and “you'll be sorry if you don't take care of those teeth”. I believed them.

But now the base teeth that were root canalized and crowned are starting to give out. I've had some get infected and some have just plain broken off. Currently, my front top tooth broke off at the gum line so I look like a goofy guy with a goofy smile. We tried putting in pins and anchoring the crown to the pins, but that didn't last a week.

So, now we can spend another thousand dollars trying to bridge or anchor pin or partial plate the durn thing. At the end of last year my dentist convinced me that I should spend the two thousand dollars to create the 2 partial plates for missing teeth instead of pulling the remaining teeth and getting trouble free dentures. He told me that I had “good root structure” and should keep those remaining teeth.

I accepted his reasoning. I believed him. It's good to see your dentist on a regular basis.

I'm just glad that my hair isn't falling out. My barber is a lot friendlier and a whole lot less expensive.

I guess my teeth retired but my hair is still working.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday April 21, 2010...Fragmentized?

My computer was running very, very s-l-o-w-l-y and I wanted it to run like it used to run when it was young.

So I decided to clean up the registry and get rid of the cookies and then to defragmentize the hard drive.

This took most of yesterday and is still running today. My hard drive was really fragmented. When you defragmentize the drive, you take all the stored bits and pieces of different files and put them all together in one place. Over time, as you add more information, the computer will store this bit of information here and that bit of information there so that a file will be fragmented into different places on the hard drive. When you call up a file, your computer librarian has to go and get all the fragments and bring them together (which takes time). Once the fragmented files are all back together, my computer should run much more efficiently and faster (like it was young again).

This got me to thinking about my brain working like it used to when I was young. If I could only defragmentize all the bits and pieces of information my brain has stored away over all the years, I would be able to remember trivial information more quickly. It's amazing what little bits of information your brain has tucked away over the years. Without even trying some of these bits that you didn't even know you retained will come to the forefront. A particular smell or sound may remind you of a remembered time in your life and a memory will jump forward to be re-experienced. This is really great when it happens, but it really bothers me when I can't remember my neighbors name or what I started out to do first thing this morning before I started doing this. I'm sure it's all because of fragmentizing of my thoughts.

Maybe electro-shock treatment would help. I could stand in a puddle of water while plugging in my hair dryer?

But first I need to clean the cookies out of my registry.

Now what was I doing?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday April 19, 2010...Gasping?

Is it grasping at straws or gasping through straws?

The first makes no sense to me but I can clearly visualize the second. It would be really, really hard to breathe through a little straw.

Anyway, the reason I was gasping through straws was that I had a really very big, humongous, startling, earth-shattering thought last night that I was sure to remember and pass along in my blog today, but I'm gasping without remembering. I do remember that it was a true revelation and would probably change the world's thinking about whatever it was that I realized.

Oh well, what the heck - who wants to go changing an already perfect world? (me)

I know that these sort of things never occur to other people – it's just my own miserable misfortune. I vow to keep a notepad and pencil by the bedside, but keep forgetting when I go to bed. Often I find myself falling asleep with my face down on a book and can't remember the last few pages I'm sure I read. Maybe my brain will suck up the information through my facial pores?

Sometimes life is full of little tragedies like these, but they are soon to be forgotten and probably soon to be repeated. Someday I'll figure out a way to keep those thoughts and will help change the world for the better – sure I will.

I'll pass along these great thoughts as soon as I remember what they were. Just wait patiently for the next installment, but don't go gasping through straws.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday April 18, 2010...Organized?

I used to be so organized on the weekends.

I would have a list of things to do and I would get up Saturday morning ready to charge. Weekends were project days and you were worn out when you went back to work on Monday, but with a feeling of accomplishment.

Now that I'm retired and have plenty of time, the weekends mean less. There is always manana to finish projects. I try hard to keep my list of things to do short and sweet. I figure if I do one thing each day, but do it well, it has been a successful day. There is little pressure now and more time to waste on simple pleasures. I really enjoy writing, but have a hard time actually sitting down to start. Once I begin, the words flow, but it's so easy to procrastinate and spend the whole day just reading the paper or reading a book or catching a movie. It's a rough life, but somebody has to do it.

It took a few years of retirement to get to this relaxed state of mind. At first, I felt I had to multitask and do all the things I now had time to do. People when they first retire scurry about quite a bit, taking trips or working on home projects that they have always wanted to do but didn't have time for. Later, they settle into a more relaxed and peaceful style of living. The pressure lifts and you live life each day joyfully and relaxed. I smile and lot and laugh a lot more than I used to.

I wish I had enjoyed this attitude for more years of my life. I always pushed so hard to do as much as I possibly could as efficiently as I could without taking much time to smell the roses or look at the sky. Many years passed by with little notice. Now I have a better feeling for the natural order of life on this earth and enjoy the cycles of the seasons and pay more attention to the simple pleasures. Each day is a treasure with something new to discover and enjoy.

One of these days I will probably get more organized, but for now I'm just enjoying life – every golden moment.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday April 15, 2010...LISTS

I'm on LISTS now!

I get emails from the right, I get emails from the left, I get emails from computer companies, I get emails from office supply people. I get emails from financial advisers. I get emails from political action groups. I get emails from angry tea party people. I get funny emails. I get sad emails. I get emails asking for contributions.

I don't get emails offering me money.
I guess I'm on the wrong LISTS.

There must be people out there just slobbering over excess money they want to give away and I would be more than happy to help them achieve their goal. I would take bills. I would take coins. I would take checks. I would take stocks. I would take jewelry. I would take property. I'm not selective at all. I would be glad to send a personalized autographed picture saying “Thanks” for any contributions.

So spread the word while I hold my breath.........

I can hold my breath for quite a bit (especially if it's for money).......

Come on, send in those cards and letters and checks.....

Oh, by the way, please take me off of the other LISTS.

I'll be happy with just this one list.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday April 14, 2010...Waiting for what?

I was looking online at

I have been dilatory in maintaining my elucidations on current events. I will attempt to ameliorate that situation now.

I've been watching the reactions to the passage of the health care bill with wonder. I'm wondering why there is so much antagonism about trying to help people get health care at a reasonable cost. I see other industrialized countries like England and Canada and France and Germany and Australia and even poorer countries like Cuba and Costa Rica with their government run health care systems that cover most all of the people and wonder why we never did the same. I looked up some interesting statistics on Wikipedia:

I keep hearing people talking about us having the best healthcare on the planet, but the statistics don't bear that out. We pay much more per person than any other country, but what we get isn't the best healthcare system. Oh, it's lucrative for the insurance people and the medical people and the drug people, but it isn't giving us the best health. I'm hoping that in the upcoming years we will get a better system for our money and that all of our people can share. Time will tell.

Maybe the anger in the air isn't about the healthcare at all, maybe it's just frustration that our system isn't working as well as it used to. We seem to have have lost our direction and feel that we are slipping behind. We see a lot of greed and mismanagement and not as much charity and sharing. It seems to be more of us against them instead of one for all and all for one. We're waiting for someone or some event to galvanize us into action and get us going again in the right direction with a plan.

That would be nice, to move ahead instead of looking back and wishing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday March 21, 2010...What the majority wants

So, after hearing all the protests and shouting about how nobody wanted the healthcare and that the congress was shoving something down our throats, I went to the internet to find out what the majority of the citizens of this country really want. Neutral polls seem to be the fairest and most accurate method of obtaining this information and here is what I found out.

It seems that the minority of the people have the loudest yelling voices and make the most obnoxious demonstrators while the silent majority just trust our legislators to do the right thing.

March 20, 2010
"A new study by SurveyUSA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June.
In asking its question SurveyUSA used the same exact words that NBC/Wall Street Journal had used when conducting its June 2009 survey. That one that found 76 percent approval for the public option: "In any health care proposal, how important do you feel it is to give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance--extremely important, quite important, not that important, or not at all important?"
To ensure that its respondent pool was composed of people from similar demographics and political mindsets, SurveyUSA asked respondents a question pulled directly from NBC's August survey. The results were nearly identical."

Now I know that if you ask only rich white Republican voters over the age of 40 you will get different replies than if you ask poor hispanic young voters. An accurate poll will be representative of all the voters and this is what we're dealing with here. So all I can say to the naysayers is to get your facts straight before you shout out your opinion. Hopefully, truth will prevail.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday March 19, 2010...Fear and hate

I received the following note from a fellow classmate that I haven't seen in many years. He had been following some of my statements on Facebook or some other blog and apparently disagreed.

“You are at the opposite side of the political spectrum as I am. I am deleting you and the entire Paseo links. Thank God I had sense enough to ignore the reunion.
The Corruptocrats forced me into the Medicare program, now they want to reduce it to the point that my health care will be jeopardized. Damn everyone of them. “

What we don't understand, we fear. And what we fear, we often hate.

Ignorance and intolerance seem to go hand in hand. It isn't that some of us aren't intelligent, it's just that we fear change and often won't take the time to learn about new ways. I remember many of my friends saying that they would never own a computer! There was no reason for any ordinary person to need a computer!

Life changes and you need to adapt. Often we fear the changes and assume that somehow we will be left behind or lose what we have with the changes. We assume that it's us against the world and that everyone is out to take advantage of you. Sometimes it's true, but not always.

Right now it's pretty obvious that the present healthcare situation in the United States needs some changes made to help all of our citizens and provide for our general welfare (per our Constitution). The system or lack thereof we currently have is way too costly and leaves too many people without healthcare. We need to fix that. People don't have to join the Medicare program – they can take care of their own health if they want, but the majority of retirees want the Medicare system – it works for them. Now the congress is considering a Medicare system for all of the people and many people are afraid of the change, but I believe most will welcome the changes after they understand. We are one of the last major countries to initiate a national healthcare system and it's really a shame that we put it off for so long.

It's obvious that many companies who profit mightily from the current status quo don't want anything to change, but they don't represent all of us – they don't answer to all of us – they really don't care that much about all of us – they are in the business of making money. You need to understand that making money isn't all bad, but in this case it isn't good for our country's health.

This is the first time in a century that our representatives have had the gumption to stand up to the special interests and the big contributors and try to pass legislation for the good of the people. It's a good first step. I'm sure there will be corrections needed and adjustments will have to take place, but that is the nature of life. We need to adapt to changes and learn from mistakes and learn to fear less and hate less.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Thursday March 4, 2010...Come on, Spring!

My sister is still down in southern Texas enjoying the warmth. Meanwhile, I am watching the snow melt on the north side of the house.

I'm really ready for spring! The days are getting just a bit longer and it's light even up into dinner time, but the grass is still brown and the trees are still bare and I'm no tired of the drabness of winter. At least we avoided the heavy snowfall that hit the east coast. They have had a really rough winter and I'm sure they don't sympathize with me at all. The weather here is slowly climbing (more like inching up). The high is going to be in the 50s this weekend but the nights are still in the 30s.

I want 80 so badly. 80 degrees with a light breeze and blue skies and fluffy clouds will be no nice. I won't even complain about mowing the grass. I will open the window in my bedroom and smell the springtime smells. It will be so nice.

Come on, Spring!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday February 14, 2010...Returned to the cold

I returned to Missouri from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and now I can say that “I've been there and done that”. But I want to do that again!

February in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas is green and warm. Their coolest day was with a high in the 50s and many days in the 70s and 80s. No snow, just sunshine and warm breezes. I definitely want to go back.

Another nice thing about that area is the friendly people – they actually welcome visitors (snowbirds or winter Texans) with open arms. There are thousands of retirees that go down there annually for the great weather and there are many activities designed just for the older generations. Many folks have trailers or mobile homes that they leave down there to visit 4-6 months each year.

I understand that the summers are very hot (many days over 100) but the winters are great! It was nice to sit outside in a lawn chair and enjoy the blue skies and puffy white clouds in early February. By the way, the Mexican food is great – not too hot and very flavorful with plenty of home grown fresh vegetables.

It's supposed to snow today here in Missouri – I miss the warmth. Next year!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Tuesday February 9, 2010...Hola, Amigos!

I was just getting up from my morning nap and thought I would drop a note while awake. It's really terrible down here in the warmth and the gentle springlike breezes. I feel so guilty having this great weather and blue skies and greenery while the rest of the states are shoveling themselves out of terrible snowstorms. It's enough to make you lose your appetite for the fresh fruit that grows all around. Guilt makes it hard to fall asleep at siesta time - well maybe not "hard" - maybe "less easy". But I will survive and carry on. The ocean with it's gentle lapping waves was warm and blue and the sky with it's fluffy clouds was a deep blue - and the sun was very bright and just a bit too warm, so we could only spend a few hours on the beach before frequenting one of the wonderful restaurants in the area. There are a lot of retirees out and about and since I am one of the younger ones, it makes me feel springier. That's a nice feeling!

It will be hard to return to the harsh cold reality of winter after this dreamlike vacation here in the eternal springtime of south Texas. Adios for now.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday January 27, 2010...The call of the warmth

Well, my friends and relatives talked me into it.
I'm heading south to the sunshine and warmth of the borderlands.

So many of my friends and relatives migrate south in the winter that it got me to thinking of the relative values of staying here and braving the cold, wet, miserable, cloudy, bleak winter or lolling about in shorts and t shirts enjoying the balmy breezes and sunshine of south Texas. It was no contest.

I have always appreciated the changing of the seasons, but after a few days of the cold, I'm ready for better weather. My sister and her husband spend time down near Brownsville, Texas and I used to know a fellow steelman who spent time down there too. They both bragged of the great weather and the fresh vegetables and lazy days.

I gather that there isn't a lot to do, but to be a lazy bum and just sit back and vegetate with all the other vegetables, but I can do that for a while. I plan on visiting the coast and counting the pebbles on the beach and the clouds in the sky. I also plan on trying the local Mexican restaurant fare. Maybe a nap or two. Maybe count the stars at night (I hear they are big and bright).

It will be quite different from the brisk, bone aching crystal clear cold to the bone weather here in Missouri. I admit that I'm a lot weaker than I used to be - I can't resist the call of the warmth.

It's calling me now-----
Adios for a while.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010...Perhaps a different perspective?

According to USA TODAY January 8, 2010:

The Turkish wife of a Jordanian doctor who killed seven CIA employees in a suicide attack in Afghanistan says her husband was outraged over the treatment of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison and the U.S.-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Defne Bayrak, the wife of bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, said in an interview with The Associated Press that his hatred of the United States had motivated her husband to sacrifice his life on Dec. 30 in what he regarded as a holy war against the U.S.
Bayrak also said Friday, "I think the war against the United States must go on."
Turkish police questioned and released Bayrak on Thursday. But she says police confiscated a book she had written called "Osama bin Laden the Che Guevera of the East."

Are we the big bully on the block? It appears that many see us that way. They get the feeling that if things don't go exactly like we want them to go, that we will use our might to enforce our views on others – no negotiation – just might. It makes others feel like they have lost some of their dignity and that is extremely important to many who are impoverished but still maintain their dignity.

I hadn't thought how the Abu Ghraib treatment might affect a whole group of people, but I can see where they would take this as a slam against their whole society. When events like this motivate people with that amount of rage, we must carefully analyze the consequences of our actions, instead of just bulling our way through. What did we gain from invading Iraq? What did we lose by invading Iraq? What do we gain by continuing the war in Afghanistan against the Taliban (not the Al-Qaeda)? Sometimes it seems that we just want to force our way of living on people when it won't work with them (American Indians, Vietamese, Muslims, etc). Maybe tolerance and communication would save more lives and result in a more peaceful society? Surgical strength applied directly to the cause works better than bombing a whole country. We somehow lost sight of who our enemy was and ended up fighting whole countries instead of the small group of terrorists and criminals who hurt us in the first place. We live with the consequences and many people die needlessly.