Saturday, February 28, 2015

The power of music

For years, the desk top computer in the basement has sat, speakerless.  Of course, for the last few years, there has been a set of speakers sitting in a different corner.  Today, as I was cleaning, I decided to marry the two.  Voila.  Noise from the computer.  I then went on search and destroy to determine what noise might accompany my fit of cleaning.  First choice--"Hooked on Classics."  A true oldie but goodie, it provided the impetus for vigorous cleaning.  Okay, that's a bold faced lie.  There was nothing vigorous going on, but it did improve the ambiance as I swore at things that should be in a different location.  (Never mind that I was the one who had put them in their current position.).  It was then time to attack my kitchen (and that is not an overstatement of verb!).  Second choice of music?  The Beamer Brothers' "Honolulu City Lights".  Great CD.  Great memories of a two week stay over 30 years ago.  A friend who was a doctor in the service couldn't find room in the BOQ, so he HAD to rent a home in Milalani Town with four bedrooms and a pool.  Now seriously, what kind of friends would we have been had we not helped him fill a bedroom for two weeks?  It was a magical time.  In fact, when life gets to that point where fun is illusive, I quite frequently take a short trip back to the island, siting by the pool as Ratso cleaned the bottom and the Macha Showers drifted through.  Memories beget memories, and I morphed into several trips we would take with the same young gentleman in the following years.  He was a former student of Cath's, and he and his debate partner of time gone by became amazing traveling companions and better friends.  The doc never married.  The lawyer did, and our foursome became a fivesome of laughter and love and memories.  So many memories.  Of late, the doc has become amazingly busy and involved in providing positive experiences for cancer survivors.  His time for travel takes him a different direction.  We don't see much of him any more, and that's sad.  But believe it or not, this story has a point.  Back to music.  The last track on Honolulu City Lights is "Only Good Times", and the lyrics tug at my heart and my mind.

We were friends who rode the waves
Time we spent in our younger days
Was all in fun, Oh the good times that we had.

We were young and it was fine
To feel your spirit as it climbs
There no regrets, only good times.

We were friends in our younger days
Although we went our separate ways
You were my friend, you never turned away

Who can say what life will do,
Life is kind to just a few
There's no regrets, only good times.

In time we will grow We will change
Just as free as the wind and the waves

Live your life the way you choose
Find the ones who laugh with you
Like the sea will find it's way to shore

As the sun sinks from the sky
Live your life and you will find

There's no regret, only good times,
only good times....

Laissez les bons temps rouler! and know always you are loved!

Friday, February 27, 2015

technological expertise

My lovely bride sits upstairs, working with two of her friends on a budget for an organization for which she serves as treasurer.  She has worked on this budget for two days, frustrated at times, bemused at times, and downright upset at times.  Just as she was on the cusp of completion, she realized that in her tumultuous workings, she had thrown away a form she needed to complete the task.  Enter the technological expert, little Billy.  For 20 some years I taught students to manipulate manuscripts using all sorts of techniques.  Falling back on that expertise, I solved her problem for her.  Thankfully, she had a copy of last year's form.  Using delete and cut and paste, I was able to produce for her a document that could be used this year.  It's all in the skill set.

Ain't technology grand?  Know you are loved!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Emerson on gifts

Had a wonderful lunch today with our aunt and some of her relatives on the other side.  Great conversation.  Great stories.  And an amazing discussion on gifts.  When I was in college taking the clep Freshman English test, we had to write an essay to get out of regular English, and the basis for the essay was Emerson's treatise on gifts.  Now, that was just a few years ago, but I still remember the impact of that essay.  In essence, Emerson maintains that giving a gift is not a precedent for receiving a gift.  One does not give in the hope of getting.  One gives for several reasons.  Magnanimity.  Need.  Pleasure.  But the joy is in the giving!  All too often, people will receive a mitzvah (I have no idea whether that is spelled correctly, but I'll give it a try) and immediately wonder what to do in return.  Emerson says, say thank you.  Relish in the good deed or gift, and allow the giver the joy of giving!  Today, Chad, a young man much wiser than his years, was one of the diners.  We were discussing this very thing and he elucidated my point eloquently.  He and a friend were out together and his friend gave him a gift.  Quite to point, Chad thanked him.  The next time they were out to eat, Chad was going to pick up the check.  The young guest asked why, and Chad's reply was because of the gift he had received earlier.  The gentleman then responded, "That's not necessary.  Please don't step on my blessing."  Truly, it is better to give than to receive, for both are blessed.  The next time you are the giftee, instead of wondering what to do in return, allow the giver the joy of the event.  Thank them.  And then, to mix messages completely, pay it forward.  Do something nice to the next person you meet.  Blessings!  And love from me!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


The doc says more fiber..I'll eat it, I hope
But thank god it's over, my colon, his scope.
The drugs that they give one, amazingly fast
Effects should wear off soon..on me they do last.

But every procedure when finished it is
Means gratification--it's pizza and fizz!
It's like that quite often--when bad things are done
The stomach's rewarded, the taste buds have fun.

So let's shift to weather.  It's now about time.
It's all about putting my thoughts down in rhyme.
To shovel? Anathema.  Enough with the snow!
Thank god for equipment.  Don't shovel, just blow!

Am so looking forward to spring...let it come
My fingers are frigid, my feet they are numb
Complaining won't change it, I know it is true
Regardless of weather, I'll always love you!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


There are some things that are best kept to oneself.  Believe it or not, I really do believe that.  Considering there are few aspects that I have not shared in this forum, you may be asking yourself, "What?  What is he keeping from us?  What?"  Suffice it to say, a little mystery in a relationship may add value!  And this would be it!  But don't worry.  It'll be our little secret!  But it is NO secret that you are loved!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tick Tock

I believe it was our first measurable purchase.  We had saved all the money that we had received for gifts and purchased a fine mantle clock.  Chimed every quarter hour.  Pealed the hours.  It was good.  Then, it wasn't.  Some thirty years later, it started being less accurate.  It started being a bit fussy.  And then, in the last year, it kind of started not starting.  After checking with a local jeweler, he suggested a clock repairman in Ortonville.  Road trip.  Met Craig.  Great guy.  Explained what was probably wrong.  Not fixable with any reliability or longevity.  Simply needed to replace the entire movement.  Okay.  Bit the bullet, and the clock now waits for his expertise.  Of course, since it hasn't worked for a year, we probably won't miss its absence.  On our way home, we stopped to see good friends.  He's fighting a hideous disease.  She's doing everything she can.  It truly struck home: how so very valuable this thing called time is.  Relish it.  Celebrate it.  Use it wisely to spread good.  And always, always, always tell the people you love that you do.  Tick tock.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The basement kitchen

No doubt, if you are an avid reader, you have heard mention of the basement kitchen.  It is a god send.  Mainly because when I don't want to clean it up, I don't, because no one is going to see it.  If time is of the essence, it sometimes accumulates dishes.  Such was the discovery today.  Pie dishes.  Bread dishes.  Dish dishes.  With deviant fervor, I attack.  Now understand, I believe in multi-tasking, so whilst I am fervently dismantling the mess in the kitchen, I likewise am doing laundry.  It's a good combination.  I can ascertain the level of my slovenliness by the number of loads I can finish before the dishes are done and put away.  This was a two and a half load cleaning.  Not my worst.  Certainly not my best.  But the feeling of satisfaction in completing two tasks is amazing!  And people complain about the frigid air precluding any desire to be outside.  Life is good, and you are loved!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The sure cure to the winter doldrums

For the most part, I think I'm a good sport about winter.  I enjoy the crisp air, at its onset.  I admit, I even like the first snow fall.  I love to decorate for Christmas.  I love to undecorate from Christmas.  We all know about my Bacchanalian birthday week.  Then, there's the lovers' day, and my bride's birthday.  Celebratory events that keep my mind from focusing on what's happening outside.  But now, it's the end of February, and my seasonal attitude disorder is kicking in.  -35 wind chill?  Really?  Weather that precludes a trip to Sam's club for essentials and time spent with friends.  And the realization that we're only half through the worst of it.  Depression.  Well, at least as close as I might get.  Then along comes this e-mail...from Taste of Home...and the thought of trying it has lightened my load.  It has all the favorites.  Nutter Butters for the crust.  A layer of Chocolate Fudge Ice cream topping.  Peanut butter, pudding, cream cheese, and sweetened condensed milk.  Whipping cream.  And chocolate curls.  Heck, the smile comes to my face just writing these ingredients down.  If it tastes half as good as it sounds, winter be darned!  I will, of course, keep you informed.  Until then, you are my sunshine, and you are loved!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Half the fun is...

I've never bought into this bon mot!  Getting there is usually a hassle!  Of what do I speak, you ask?  Our summer trip is booked.  In June we will be traveling to Argentina and Brazil, where the end result (should we survive the hikes prior to) will be Iguazu Falls.  The trip requires transportation.  Not fun.  Thank god for Miss Julie!  We do have air transportation.  The trip requires visas.  Not fun.  I just sent off our passports to have our Brazilian visas attached, and I am never happy to have them somewhere other than in the possession of mi esposa.  Not to mention the three plus hours of time it took to get everything ready.  There are families that will continue to dine thanks to the cost of bureaucracy!  Then, of course, there's the packing to which I am not looking forward.  Okay, that's a bit in the distance, but since I'm complaining, I thought I would through it in.  The only exciting thing is the anticipation of spending quality time with quality friends in a place we have not been.  Priceless!  And since we are traveling together, maybe a little bit more fun!  Wherever we are, know you are loved!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Random acts of kindness

I've been burned in the past.  My random acts have, on occasion, come back to bite me in the butt.  This, however, should not dissuade me.  And it shall not!  February for me a month of challenges.  By challenging you, I remind myself of what I think I should do.  So here it is.  Before you go to bed on Saturday night...for the next four something nice for someone...anonymously!  Shovel a neighbor's walk.  Send someone flowers.  Deliver a basket of goodies to a front door.  Buy someone coffee.  Donate to your favorite charity.  Just do it without need for approbation.  I dare you!  I dare me!  And I love you!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


A little plebeian.  A little mundane.  My uncertainty.  It has nothing to do with the form my life shall take from this day forward.  It has nothing to do with my spiritual well being.  It has nothing to do with my psychological development.  Although I probably should be worried about all of those.  No, it's nothing world shaking.  Nothing important.  I'm just uncertain whether or not I feel the need to write, or the infra-red heater sits right next to the computer and is blowing this delightful warm air on me while I write.  And, come to think of it, the title is a lie.  It's the heat.  And you are loved!

Monday, February 16, 2015


Have you ever stopped to consider the impact your choice of personal relationships has on your life?  On this, the celebration of mi esposa's natal day, it seemed a natural thing to do.  And since it's her day, let's start with her.  Economically, she has saved me from ruin.  Philosophically, she has moderated my impressions.  Psychologically, she has given me the support I would have found no where else. Emotionally, she has moderated my highs and lows...notice I said moderated, not eliminated!  Finally, she loves me.  And after 41+ years, her impact is measurable!
Then, there are friends.  As a child, at times the plural of this word would have been extremely inaccurate.  I was neither popular nor rebellious.  I just was.  But I was unbelievably loyal as a friend.  To me, attachments were lifelong promises.  Sometimes they were.  Sometimes, not.  Since I have aged, I have carefully chosen my friends, based on several criteria.  First and foremost, they had to accept who I am.  Trying to change me just doesn't work.  Second, they had to know that I would not try to change them.  Third, we had to share an ethic of honesty and compassion.  And it didn't hurt if they accepted my off colored jokes!  I have amazing choice.  (For some reason, I was lost in the nether world of my being today and it came to me.  The only difference between friend and fiend is who we "R"!)
So, the question becomes a proposal.  Before you sleep tonight, why not contact one of those friends and tell them you love them!  What an impact that would have!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Flux day

That would be the day between Valentine's Day and mi esposa's natal day!  Celebrating with the Amazon Temptress and the Jungle Stud with an old fashioned pot roast dinner, but fresh pumpkin pie with real whipped cream and or ice cream stuffed angel food for dessert.  As my good friend Floyd says, keep your fork...and know you are loved!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

amo, amass, amat, amamus, amatus, amant

I.  You.  He, she it.  We.  You.  They. 

51 years later, I can still conjugate it.  But what IS it?  Philosophers, poets, scholars, theologians, and if the song is to be believed, fools rush in to define it.  How egotistical it would be to attempt to do the same.  (But I've always said, it's all about me!)  It, for me is all about gratitude.  I gratitude my parental units for giving me birth and a moral compass.  I gratitude my sibling for not killing me at an early age (not that I would ever have given her motive!).  I gratitude my genetically and non-genetically linked extended family for the patience, forbearance, and guidance they have given.  I gratitude teachers who instilled in me a love for music and literature and questions.  I gratitude the students who allowed me to take them on a journey through public discourse, or computers, or work.  I gratitude my friends...oh, how I gratitude my friends, for always giving me a feeling of worth...even when I didn't/don't deserve it.  I gratitude my failures, for they have taught.  I gratitude the four legged wonder who at this moment is informing me she has yet to have had all her sustenance for the day.  I gratitude the fact that a heart does not break, for had it truly been broken, I never would have had the opportunity to gratitude the woman who completes me...who endures me...who, thankfully gratitudes me back.  Today, of all days, I am grateful!  And it is with the deepest of gratitude I wish you a happy Valentine's Day!  Te amo!

Friday, February 13, 2015

four eyes

For forty plus years, I wore glasses.  Gladly.  According to most authorities (including the induction center in Fargo), without them I could be considered legally blind.  I never thought about it.  They were necessary and they were there!  Then, St. Thompson appeared on the scene.  Slice and dice, and I was glassless.  What an amazing experience.  Oh, things were never quite 20/20, but they were so close I had no trouble existing with the wind in my eyes and no frost-over coming in from outside.  Age.  Cataracts.  Another surgery, with an appending laser zap, and I could once again see.  Granted, at times, twice of everything, but only when the eyes were tired.  Enter the next pair of glasses.  St. Weiss lined me up.  Of course, I'm not sure they will be used frequently.  Only when I'm not pleased with two of everything.  Late night.  Early morning.  There are limits to how often they will be worn.  But when necessary, they are there!  So to Vance and Melanie, my everlasting thanks.  You've made it easier to see the ones I love! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

You don't know Jack...

It was one of those aha moments.  I was walking up the stairs, tired from a rough night of bridge and delectable edibles and everything seemed as it should.  The wind was obviously blowing.  I could see the fresh dusting of snow on the driveway, highlighted by the neighbor's motion sensitive light (REAL sensitive since the wind had activated it!).  The windows were beginning to frost over.  I honestly do not know what caught my attention, or why, but I stopped to look at the frost on the window.  The pattern was amazing.  Never before had I noticed the intricacies inherent in crystallized moisture.  Frost is frost.  But it's so much more.  And isn't that so like every person you meet?  What may appear simple and mundane, on closer examination, is intricate and beautiful!  We just need to take time to look!  And all it took was a bit of humidity and some cold weather.  I guess you could say I am richer because of the "damp cold!"  And because I love you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Typical? No! Fun? Yes

It was one of THOSE days.  Up at 4:30 to make four different kinds of scones and some lemon blueberry parfaits.  Off at 7:00 to deliver PACH tubs to Mellette.  Home long enough to bake and frost scones and off to the farm show to judge cooking with honey.  Home to pick up fudge for yoga. Yoga.  Home for lunch.  Afternoon was back to the farm show to wish our nephew a happy birthday, home to get fudge ready for retired teachers tomorrow and off to play bridge at 5:30.  Time to revel in the fact that we have the time and energy to do this kind of day!  Also time for my beauty sleep (I OBVIOUSLY have not had enough of that!)  Tomorrow, as Scarlett would tell you, "is another day."  Find a reason to be happy, and know you are loved!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It's been a while...

since you found a recipe at this site.  Laziness?  No!  Just a lack of something new.  Today was the exception!  Chicken in any form is a good idea, but this particular preparation gets a four star rating.  If you're looking for a good Valentine's meal, this might be your protein!  Give it a try, and know you are loved!

Monday, February 9, 2015

What I need

A strip of tape to pull my nose apart so I don't have to sleep with my mouth open.
Something to treat my toenail fungus.
Eggs with initials stamped on them.
Spikes for my shoes in the morning.
Wait!  We just shifted to PBS news hour.  No fun.  Nothing at which to poke fun!  Alas.  Now it's just the news...presented as news!  What an amazing thought.  No worry about liberal or conservative bent.  No drama.  Just the facts.  Just what I need!  That and for you to know you are loved!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday evening winding down

It's always been there.  And I'm not sure I can explain it.  After any major event.  That indescribable feeling of something.  The event is over.  I miss the time preparing.  I miss the adrenaline jolt during the event.  I miss the people involved.  It's a loneliness.  Even though I am not alone.  It will pass.  It will pass because the next event looms on the horizon.  There will be more preparation.  There will be more jubilation.  There will be more exhilaration.  I look at life and am amazed at my fortune.  I have amazing and loving wife...a family that always makes me smile...lifelong friends...and a support system unequaled. And yet...for a few brief moments...I am totally alone.  Rev. Zemic scared me as a child.  Okay--a teenager.  As we were painting the church basement, we fell into an easy discussion of religious tenets.  Heaven.  Hell.  I was 15.  There might be a heaven, but I didn't buy the fire and brimstone stuff.  As I recall, it was winter, and heat didn't scare me.  He did.  He told me Hell was eternal solitude.  I believe him.  Perhaps this feeling serves as a reminder of what I have.  And believe me, it's heaven!  Thanks for listening.  For that, and so much more, you are loved!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Blanche was right...again

It only takes a little prodding to remind me how important a simple act of kindness can be.  In this case, I was the recipient!  After presenting for the Miner County farm and home show, I was uncertain as to the impact my presentation may have made.  The circumstances precluded any real reading of the audience, and having been an approbation hound all my life, I like to hear feed back.  Especially positive feedback!  In the mail today was a note from one of those audience members, thanking me for the fudge...and the reminder of how we should live our lives.  She had enjoyed the presentation.  And OBVIOUSLY had been listening!  This delightful lady made my week!  Ah, how Blanche and I rely on the kindness of strangers.  And friends.  You are appreciated and loved!

Friday, February 6, 2015

As promised...

We are, indeed, enjoying the southern zephyrs in Huron!  Howard was a hoot.  Great people, and a speaker system that not only worked, but broadcast the presentation throughout the armory!  Truly a memorable event.  Then it was on to Huron for a night of rest and relaxation before tonight's speech.  Following a good steak and walleye supper, we retired to our room only to discover the bed from hell, with Beelzebub inspired pillows!   Firm is an understatement.  Well, except for the waterproof pad that lay on top of the mattress pad and bunched and wrinkled every time I moved.  The pillows were a solid block of some material that gave little and bent less.  I usually enjoy a short stay in a hotel.  Last night?  Not so much!  But whatever discomfort was incurred at the hands of the Quasimodo designed sleeping accommodations, it was overshadowed but the absolute warmth and surprise of seeing the presentation for tonight highlighted with banners and signs when we entered the registration area!  Of course, you know me to be sentimental, but the fact that they had gone to that much trouble brought tears to my eyes!  Talk about a welcome!  It gave proof to a belief I have harbored all my life.  It's not about the "stuff", it's about the people.  These are my peeps, and like you, they are loved!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

all my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

Have you ever noticed that when an event lurks on the near horizon, you find yourself ready to go way before it's time?  We don't leave today until 3:00, but everything is in the car, I am clean (in mind and spirit as well as body!), and it's barely 1:00.  We also serve who sit and wait.  Of course, I think I would just as soon sit and wait in Howard rather than here, so I'm about to convince my chauffeur, roadie, groupie, and better half that we should hit the road, Jack!  Tomorrow's blog will come from the southern, sun drenched, California Dreamin' location of Huron, SD.  As Miss Loosewheel used to say...wait for it, it will be better.  Know you are loved!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blow! Blow! Blow!

Just finished cleaning off the nuisance snow with the leaf blower.  Two things.  First, it's probably much easier to shovel, but hey, when you've got the tools....  Second, the leaf blower has a mind of its own.  It starts when it wants to.  It runs when it wants to.  It smokes when it wants to.  You would think I would revert back to thing one.  But no.  No one accuses me of an over abundance of common sense.  However, if I had not taken the time to blow, I would not have remembered one of my favorite stories from my chronological youth.  I was the drum major for the band.  That gave me a whistle.  I would take the whistle outside and practice blowing it.  Okay, I would take it outside to annoy the neighbors, and it worked.  Across the street was a gentleman who I think was not fond of children.  At least me.  One day whilst I was annoying, he came out of his house, walked to the street, and shouted to me to take that expletive deleted whistle and shove it...well, you get the idea!  To this day, every time I hear a whistle, I check to see from whence the sound emanates!  Amazing how one thing leads to another, isn't it?  May your memories bring you smiles and know you are loved!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Preparing the speech

3:00 am.  I awoke with the realization that the credit card bill that had come in the mail yesterday had not been processed.  I thoroughly believe that if something is keeping your mind occupied preventing sleep, you should do something about it...if you can.  I could!  Down to the basement to the computer and the bill paying program.  Of course, by the time I had done the thing, I was pretty much awake for the day, so I decided to do a little prep work for the two speeches on Thursday and Friday.  The first is to an unknown audience of indeterminate numbers and backgrounds.  I will be speaking the the attendees of the Miner County farm and home show.  I am somewhat trepidous to speak to an organization that has ready access to fruits and vegetables for throwing, but if they decide they don't like what I say, there's always salad to be made!  The second speech is to the joint assembly of the state math and science teachers.  Ah yes, my specialties!  I took 15 credits of German to avoid 4 credits of math in college, and while I do hold a Bachelor of Science degree and could ostensibly teach science, I still nurse the acid burns of my high school chemistry class.  Of course, the burns are healed, but the mortification lingers.  But a BS degree somehow seems appropriate.  Now, in the shank of the evening, I do my best to keep my eyes open, hoping to stay alert enough to transfer from the recliner to the bed at the appropriate time.  Ah, the struggles I have to endure!  I shall report back as to the speaking endeavors.  But rest assured, the scientific method, coupled with the mathematical theorems I remember prove that you are loved!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Quirky Question

Given the choice, which pie would you choose?
  • Dairy State Apple with a Cheddar Cheese crust
  • Raspberry Cream Cheese
  • Blueberry Sour Cream Almond
  • Pumpkin Pecan
  • Lemon Meringue
  • Coconut Cream
  • Pumpkin
  • Pecan
  • Rhubarb
  • Chocolate French Silk
  • Chicken Pot
It's February and my mind wanders!  The only thing that I know is Pie are NOT squared!  And if this post isn't eclectic enough for you, keep reading.  I'm sure I'll do better in the future!  Know how much you are loved!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

It's all about the bowl...and the hype

Yup.  It's super.  Bowl.  Sunday.  Or so I've been told.  Wait.  I have seen some of the pre-game festivities.  It's hard to miss them as I surf for a channel that has a movie I want to watch.  Or a cooking show that I want to watch.  Or anything but football that I want to watch.  I am NOT a snob.  I have been known to watch the last two minutes of a lot of games.  Okay.  A few.  Maybe one.  It just doesn't appeal to me.  But I do have to give the promoters credit.  I was tempted to watch them for the commercials...except I can see those on line tomorrow without watching the game.  The game is, indeed, an iconic part of the sports structure to which a lot of people subscribe.  And if they find it entertaining, or profitable, or exciting...then I say go for it.  But for me...maybe The Sound Of Music is on somewhere.  Do...a deer....  Watch what turns your crank, and know you are loved!