Sunday, June 30, 2013

fortuitous events

Only I could find something philosophical about a Gerbera daisy and a ceramic frog!  It started like this:  Mi esposa and I were sitting in the back yard, comparing pictures from her phone and our Ipad.  Now you have to understand, she had to teach me how to use the camera on the Ipad.  Seems as how I would focus and then shut the Ipad down rather than click the camera icon.  Couldn't figure out why no pictures were saving.  (Yes, I was a computer teacher, and yes, I am inept!)  Once I learned, however, I was deadly, taking any and every flower picture I could.  (You should see my Lantana pciture!).  When it cam time to compare pictures, we noticed that I had inadvertently captured the frog as well as the Gerbera.  I think it's an amazing picture.  I will have it framed.  The point is, it wasn't what I was after!  I decided that was pretty much my life.  I've never been real sure of exactly what I was after, but I thought I would try things. 
Like debate.  I was looking for a friend and walked into a debate meeting.  Stayed to listen.  Changed my life. 
Like teaching.  Didn't want to be a teacher!  Couldn't see the benefits.  But Miss Lucy suggested that rather than rely on my plan to be a Broadway star, I should have a backup.  Hence, education.  Not what I thought it would be.  Waaaaaay better. 
Like retirement.  Rest and relaxation.  Time on my hands.  A bit of earned boredom.  Never happened.  Speeches to give, fudge to make, bridge to play, traveling to do.  People to help.  Apparently Ms. Lucy was wrong about one thing.  It may not be on Broadway, but I am experiencing an encore!  And it is good.
Not all my pictures turn out.  Some are blurred.  Some don't work.  Some are just plain bad.  But I erase them and keep the good ones.  I try to make the same choice with my life portraits.  And so should you, because...I want you to be happy...and to know that you are loved!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

deep thoughts

If they can make ethanol from switchgrass, why not thistles?  I could be rich!  See picture below!

If I shower during the day, there is a direct correlation to a job that must be done that will immediately negate the impact of the shower.

Nice summer days pass more quickly than blustery winter ones.

It is possible to drive right by Cherry Berry.  This is obviously an hypothesis, not yet proven!

Vodka tastes better in pie crust than in any other form!

Water is an essential element to life.  They make beer out of water, right?

If I am ever hungry again, I shall return to Spezia's in Sioux Falls and once again order the eggplant Parmesan!  The whole table thought it was amazing, and there WAS enough to share!

Sometimes, you simply have to say the words.  You are loved!
The fence behind is six foot tall--see what I mean about being rich?

Friday, June 28, 2013

The devil is in

I am NOT a detail person.  Duh!  Big picture, that's I!  That being said, I think there are people I would like to be detail the people who work on my car.  I was impressed they knew it was time to rotate tires.  I was impressed when they checked the battery they discovered it needed a good cleaning.  However, and realize that I am beyond picky at this time, I think they should have realized that disconnecting the battery to clean it means that the electrical things in the car are disrupted!  The reset on "maintenance due" disappears.  The clock is not accurate.  Don't get me wrong.  We have purchased and had our cars serviced by the same company for SEVERAL years.  I trust them implicitly to treat us with respect and honesty.  I would recommend them to any and all my friends.  That being said, I would still like my clock to be right when the car is done!  Just saying....  With that said, and after realizing if that's the biggest thing I have to worry about, I am amazingly lucky!  I hope your big picture is bright, your "vehicular transportati" in working condition, and your clocks set!  Know how much you are loved!

Thursday, June 27, 2013


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times!  Of course, you know I speak of my morning run!  The body beautiful objected to the early hour, the humidity, the weak ankles, the sore knees, the aging hips, the difficult breathing...well you get the picture.  However, it was a time to contemplate, and this AM, my mind went to the fortuitous choices I have made. 
First, I chose to be born into a family that supported and encouraged me.  More importantly, I chose to adopt their tenets of life:
     If you love someone, tell them. 
     Everyone deserves your respect until they show you differently--it is not earned, it is lost.
     A sense of humor solves more problems than a sense of disgust or self pity.
Second, I chose a career that allowed me to teach:
     If you love someone, tell them.
     Everyone deserves your respect until they show you differently--it is not earned, it is lost.
     A sense of humor solves more problems than a sense of disgust or self pity.
Third, I chose a life partner that always:
     Tells me she loves me
     Respects everyone
     Laughs at my jokes (moaning is a form of laughter, right?) occasionally and finds the positive
     aspect to a situation.
Fourth, I chose to retire at 55 so I could get up at oh-dark-thirty to subject the body beautiful to terrible things and remind me how darn lucky I have been!  We are the sum of our choices, and while I know there have been a few lulu's, I'm still way over my quota for luck!  Guess the best of times wins again!  Know you are loved!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

An evening of Shakespeare

The title?  "A Comedy of Errors".  And while there were no sets of twins, it didn't take place in Ephuses, and the slapstick was entirely unplanned, the title is indeed apt!  I speak to the cooking class last night!  In what can only be described as a series of unrelated mishaps, the end result was a cohesive statement of ineptitude!  Picture the following.  1) During the afternoon prep time, a newly opened glass bottle of olive oil sits on display on the outer edge of the counter.  Bill has a cutting board out.  It hangs over the front edge, making it somewhat unsteady.  To remedy this, Bill, in his infinite wisdom, simply pushes it forward...into the bag of craisins which was resting against the olive oil.  The craisins move.  The olive oil commits suicide.  Before I can blink, the bottle does a perfect swan dive onto the cement floor.  Now, you may think you can visualize the result.  Enter the unexpected.  Somehow, the bottle hits the floor in a perfect vertical position.  The impact is absorbed by the plastic insert in the top of the bottle and it gracefully falls in its side, INTACT!  Quickly, before anyone knows it has happened, it is the middle of the counter some 15 feet away from where I am working!  2)  Still prepping.  There has to be lemon meringue pie to serve, so it has to be made that morning.  Humidity...130%.  Meringue...15%.  It's not even that stiff when I apply it.  When it comes out of the oven, it's about 1/2 in high, in the center.  Now understand, meringue falls as it cools.  By nightfall, we had a lemon layer pie!  Looked like crap...tasted heavenly!  Again, not the expected.  3)  While brushing the scones with cream to apply the sugar topping, the silicon pastry head comes off it's plastic handle.  I reattach.  It comes off.  I throw the handle and finish with just the head!  4)  Stirring the lemon curd, the wooden spoon I am using snaps in half (that was one thick curd!)  5)  The coup de grace...I'm demonstrating how to apply the meringue to the pie.  The metal bowl sits unevenly on the counter.  I move to do something.  Because I am unaware of the precarious nature of the bowl, I am not careful.  I knock it on the floor. It spills all over the floor and my boss who is helping with the class!  She was dressed in black and white.  She was now dressed in black and white...and white!  She starts to laugh so hard she cries.  I go to the refrigerator, take out the bottle of vodka (best new ingredient for pie crust), set it on the counter, and threaten to get a water tumbler and start to drink.  Of course, by now, we're all in stitches, and thankfully we were able to finish the class, eat the amazing food (who says I have an ego problem?) clean up and go home.  It is a class none of us will soon forget!  They say laughter is good for the heart, good for the mind, and good for the soul.  Last night wasn't about the calories, it was about the good fors!  William Shakespeare, eat your heart out.  And you?  Know you are loved!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Life is an amazing recipe.  For every sweet, there is a little salt to enhance the taste and make the experience more pleasurable.  For every fallen meringue (can you say humidity?) there is humility and the realization the pie is still darn tasty.  For every recipe step there is an alternative.  No one can tell us exactly what should go into the mix--it's our right to choose--to experiment--to fail (we still get/have to eat the results) and to try again with different ingredients, different processes, and different timing!  I never realized that the kitchen is indeed a microcosm of the universe.  I did know that when left untreated, untended, and unused, unwanted things tend to grow!  But when combined with love, amazing things can be made.  Unfortunately, to quote Auntie Mame, "Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!"  Don't be one of those "ps's!  Get out there and really cook!  And know you are loved!

Monday, June 24, 2013


Once a teacher.... Tomorrow, I get to demonstrate brunch as the resident chef at Hy-Vee!  I even have a badge with my name on it!  (Try to contain your enthusiasm and amazement!)  That means this was a shopping morning. Do you have any idea how dangerous it is to turn me loose with someone else's money in a grocery store?  I try to be good, but, there are just things that jump into my cart, and once there, it must be rude to put them back, yes?  This class was originally scheduled for the day before Mother's Day, but we didn't get enough learners to have it go.  Sometime about timing?!  Anyhow, upon completion of the "lesson", the participants will be able to make (and taste!) curried chicken salad, dill casserole bread, broccoli and bacon salad with a balsamic dressing, butter and cream scones (some with craisins and pecans), and lemon meringue pie for dessert!  Of course, there will be the obligatory fudge, but the flavor is yet to be determined.  Perhaps peppermint, or Andes mint chocolate.  We'll see what comes out of the pan tonight!  Apparently I'm channeling Chad Foster's advice and following my passion.  You should too!  Know you are loved!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

to perfection?

After the storms--after the rains--after the sleepless nights--blue sky, wafting breezes, moderate temperatures, and a backyard picnic!  Life IS good.  I am enamored with the colors in the garden right now--the brilliant yellow sun drops, the golden day lillies, the maroon flowers on the green shrub that I can't name, the striking purple of the Siberian Iris (which are once again erect following the wind storm thanks to the unused garden fencing found in the shed, which for obvious reasons shall from this point be referred to as our Viagra fencing!), the red geraniums, the mauve wigelia, and the passionate pink of the rose bush all present a kaleidoscope of nature at her best.  Of course, the grilled burgers, calico beans, potato salad and fruit don't hurt, either!  Today we range in age from 93 to 31 and while at different stages of physical ability, we share the common bond of family--some by blood, some by friendship over the years--but all family.  The strength of unity is reinforced.  The power of love, reignited, and the enjoyment that only mutual trust and growth can bring, enhanced!  While the burgers nurtured my clogging arteries, the company cleansed my soul, and it IS a good day!  Know you are loved!

Saturday, June 22, 2013


When mother nature gets PO'd (that's "put out" for those of you with delicate sensibilities [and something much more accurate for those of us with no delicacy at all!]), she can put on quite the show.  Used to lights?  Take that!  Used to air conditioning?  Take that!  Used to flushing(!)?  Take that.  Luckily, we only did without for 3-4 hours!  (That would be three visits to the raspberry patch for those who are interested!)  Trees can be replaced.  Items can be replaced.  Not so with people!  I celebrate that I was able to "suffer" without lights, air conditioning, or flushing!  Amazingly enough, so too did all but one around us!  I understand there was a fatality at Lake Poinsett.  Devastating!  Truly makes you realize how much we are actually "in charge", doesn't it?  Ah, the fatalist in me appears (only to be beaten back once again by my innate Pollyannaism!)  Having seen what she does when ticked, I thought this would be the perfect time to remind you what she does when she's happy!  Stay safe.  Enjoy each other.  And know you are loved!

Friday, June 21, 2013

breakfast run

Headed down Broadway--destination--two fold.  She wants a chicken and potato burrito.  He wants a caramel roll.  The Neon knows the way to get both!  The radio is cranked (as much as this old fart can stand it) and out comes Bruce Springsteen (at least, it sounded like Bruce Springsteen) telling me "those were the best years of my life" and of course, my first thought was how depressing!  Now, don't get me wrong.  There have been good years, amazing years, phenomenal years, and "they were so good we can't talk about them" years.  But to think that what lies ahead is only downhill?  Really?  While gravity is obviously not my friend, and the synapses are just a tad slower, I really believe the best is yet to come!  There are places I've never been.  There are people I've never met.  There are things yet to be learned.  There are friends to be enjoyed, thunderstorms to amaze, and food screaming to be tested!  Let's change those lyrics just a bit--tensewise--and realize, by choice, THESE ARE the best years of my life!  And to prove it, here's why...You ARE Loved!

Thursday, June 20, 2013


on the road.  NTF--squared!  The best description for the run I just finished.  Not Too Far Not Too Fast.  I truly believe that running is god's punishment for leading a bad life.  My life to this point must have sucked!  I can think of no other reason I would put myself through this torture.  Oh wait, there's that ego thing.  If I run I can eat more and not balloon back to 250 pounds.  If I run, I can tell myself I'm trying to stay healthy (never mind the onion rings I just had for lunch!)  If I run, I can keep some form to my calves and continue to claim that my legs are my best physical feature.  And of course, there's the runner's high!  NOT!  I have never felt a euphoric burst of energy because of running.  The only thing that goes through my mind is maybe if I run today I don't have to tomorrow!  Oh well, I guess I run because I choose to, and my choices are suspect at times.  Do something good for you, and know you are loved!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

in the dirt

Those who know me know I'm happiest when playing in the dirt!  Today was an amazing play day!  We have these perennial gardens in various places in the back yard (translation--plant perennials, mow less!)  Today we decided to mulch one of them.  Off to Menards.  Chose the mulch.  Bought 50 bags.  30 pounds each.  Pulled into loading area.  Told we'd have help.  Found the mulch.  Loaded 25 bags into pickup.  No help.  Brought 25 bags home.  Barrowed them out to the desired location.  Headed back to Menards.  Got 25 more bags.  Last one loaded by "the help".  Thanks a lot!  Headed home.  Barrowed some more.  Whilst I was off gallivanting, Cath had spread most of the mulch.  By noon, we were done!  By tomorrow, neither of us will be able to move!  But it looks nice!  This leaves only one area left to mulch.  Not tomorrow!  Maybe on Friday!  If we can move!  May each of you be blessed by and with your passion, and know how much you are loved!

ps--one of the perennials! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


SDRTA board meeting--Pierre--11:00 am!  Hit the road, Jack (or Bill, Cathy, and Pat as the case should be more accurately described!)  Great meeting and then home again, home again.  Lots of time for thoughts, ergo, today's epiphanies entitled, (are you ready for this?)  Pierrespective!
1)  According to Facebook Friends, today is national fudge day!  Only one day?  It should be at least a month (to accomodate the 31 flavors!).  Today's were rather mundane--female chocolate and peanut butter--but they made me realize how easy it is to do a little thing for someone(s) and how good it makes us both feel!  We just don't do enough of that!
2)  With direction and a little planning, it is possible to accomplish much in a short span of time.  No one does it better than teachers, and experienced mature teachers (we old retired farts) do it well--at least the other memebers of the board!  Their energy, their drive, their wit, and their abilities continue to amaze me!  They should be leading the world!  We just don't do enough of that!
3)  Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, but if you were in the car early this morning passing fields of green, lakes of amazing azure, trees fully leafed, and could not see the beauty, well then, my friend, it's time for an eye appointment.  Couple that with the fact that those azure lakes refelected all around them because of the lack of wind, and you would recognize that these eyes were beholding to mother nature.  (And I took time literally to smell the roses!)  We just don't do enough of that!
4)  No one comes in to do the laundry whilst on the road.  You'd think they would!  There's just not enought of that!
5)  The power of friendship is more healing and restorative than any medication, any spa, any retreat!  To my friends on the board--thanks again for your dedication and your leadership!  To my friends reading this blog, thanks for making my day, and to all my friends, let me tell you how much you are loved.  To put it in Pierrespective, you are amazing and I should tell you that more often!  I just don't do enough of that!